The international bribery scandal that reached the upper echelons of the U.S. Navy now encompasses some 200 subjects, federal prosecutors said Friday.
The detail came out during a federal court hearing for Navy Cmdr. Michael Misiewicz. He is one of many military officials accused of taking bribes from the Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd. and its CEO, Leonard Francis, also known as “Fat Leonard.” In exchange, prosecutors allege Misiewicz diverted U.S. Navy ships to profitable ports for GDMA.
On Friday, Misiewicz's defense attorney requested nearly every record and communication in relation to the Navy’s 7th Fleet over the last decade. Former federal prosecutor Laura Marran said the defense has a right to information from other cases that could be valuable.
“That information could exculpate his client, so what it sounds like to me is that case is going to take a very long to come to its conclusion,” she said.
However, the federal judge asked Misiewicz’s attorney to narrow the scope of his research because of the sheer number of documents involved.
Marran told NBC 7 the more information requested, the more expensive it becomes to hand over.
“Clearly, the government has to think twice if they’re going to have to turn over lots of confidential documents, and it’s going to cost a great deal of money for them to do so, to go through all the documents,” said Marran.
Prosecutors told the defense they would share more than 2,000 pages from the investigation — including hundreds of emails. They explained the far-reaching scandal involves about 200 people, some of whom are accused and others who are witnesses.
The man at the center of the scandal, Francis, is one of seven who have pleaded guilty to their part in the bribery scheme, defrauding the U.S. of more than $20 million.
Misiewicz has pleaded not guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit bribery.
The time period in question started in 2011, when Misiewicz became the deputy operations officer of USS Blue Ridge. In that position, he had influence over operations for the 7th Fleet’s ships.
According to federal documents, Misiewicz used his influence to send Navy vessels to ports in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. There, the military would pay GDMA for services such as security, provisions, refueling and tugboats.
In early 2012, Misiewicz is accused of sending Francis a confidential list of ship schedules from a private Gmail account on three separate occasions. In exchange, Francis gave the military official prostitutes and luxury travel to places like Cambodia.
Misiewicz has denied his involvement in the widespread corruption.