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United States v. Chujoy

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Harrisonburg Division

September 13, 2016

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
FELIX ADRIANO CHUJOY, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Michael F. Urbanski United States District Judge

         On December 22, 2015, a jury found defendants Felix Adriano Chujoy and Carolyn J. Edlind guilty of conspiracy to engage in witness tampering under 18 U.S.C. § 1512(k) (Count One), witness tampering under 18 U.S.C. § 1512(b)(1) (Count Two), and obstruction of justice under 18 U.S.C. § 1503 (Count Three). The jury also found Edlind guilty of perjury under 18 U.S.C. § 1623 (Count Four), and a second count of obstruction (Count Five). The final two counts concern Edlind's testimony before the grand jury on October 6, 2015.

         Before the court is defendants' joint motion for acquittal, ECF No. 113.[1] Edlind and Chujoy argue insufficiency of the evidence and claim no reasonable juror could convict on any count. They also claim plain error in the court's jury instructions. The government disagrees and urges the court to affirm the guilty verdicts.

         After careful review of the trial record and the arguments of counsel, the court concludes that the government submitted sufficient evidence for a reasonable juror to find Edlind and Chujoy guilty of conspiracy, witness tampering, and obstruction as charged in Counts One, Two and Three. However, the court does not find that any of the six alleged false statements in Count Four support Edlind's perjury conviction. The court likewise finds the evidence insufficient to convict Edlind of obstruction as charged in Count Five. Accordingly, the joint motion for acquittal, ECF No. 113, is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part. The defendants' convictions on Counts One, Two, and Three are affirmed. Edlind's convictions on Counts Four and Five are vacated, and a judgment of acquittal will be entered on these counts.

         I.

         The current indictment relates to another criminal case pending before this court: United States v. Maria Rosalba Alvarado McTague, et al., No. 5:14-CR-055 (filed Dec. 4, 2014) [hereinafter the "Inca's Secret case"]. The government alleges that Chujoy and Edlind contacted Michael Kwiatkowski, a witness in the Inca's Secret case, between March 2015 and June 2015 in an attempt to influence his testimony during trial. The government further alleges that Edlind lied about her communications with Chujoy and Kwiatkowski when she was questioned before the grand jury. The relevant facts are outlined below.

         A. Investigation of Inca's Secret Restaurant

         On or about July 2014, the Department of Homeland Security began investigating the legal status of workers at the Inca's Secret Restaurant in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Trial Tr., Dec. 16, 2015, ECF No. 109, 4:16-6:22 ("12/16 Trial Tr."). Chujoy and his mother Maria Rosalba Alvarado McTague ("Alvarado") were targets of that investigation. Id. In December 2014, Chujoy and Alvarado were indicted on various federal charges, arrested, and released on bond. Id. at 27:8-29:23; 36:21-37:4.[2] As a condition of bond, Chujoy and Alvarado were to avoid all contact with potential witnesses in the Inca's Secret case. Id. at 36:8-38:13; Gov't Exs. 3, 4. Notably, Alvarado was released into the third-party custody of Edlind and her husband, Gary Edlind. 12/16 Trial Tr. 37:23-38:13. The Edlinds were close friends with Chujoy, and Carolyn Edlind was often described as Chujoy's "tia" or "aunt." See, e.g.. Trial Tr., Dec. 18, 2015, ECF No. 111, 74:3-4 ("12/18 Trial Tr.").[3]

         In early 2015, the government discovered evidence that Chujoy, Alvarado, and Chujoy's sister, Gladys Chujoy, were contacting witnesses in the Inca's Secret case. 12/16 Trial Tr. 8:18-23; 40:4-23. Agent Tami Ketcham of the Department of Homeland Security obtained cell phone records for these witnesses, and discovered they received multiple calls from phones associated with Alvarado, Gladys Chujoy, and several known associates of Chujoy. Id. at 9:2-25:25; Gov't Exs. 6-11; 13-25. No calls were discovered from Chujoy's personal phone. However, federal agents interviewed Chujoy's known associates- including Edlind and Kwiatkowski-and learned that Chujoy had made calls from their phones on various occasions. 12/16 Trial Tr. 64:7-68:18; Trial Tr., Dec. 17, 2015, ECF No. 110, 113:3-114:10; 177:21-23; 206:9-12 ("12/17 Trial Tr."); 12/18 Trial Tr. 42:12-43:13; 75:12-76:15.

         Acting on evidence that Chujoy, Alvarado, and Gladys Chujoy had contacted potential witnesses, the grand jury returned a superseding indictment in the Inca's Secret case in March 2015. 12/16 Trial Tr. 40:24-41:20.[4] This superseding indictment alleged charges of obstruction and witness tampering against all three defendants. Id. Chujoy was re-arrested on March 18, 2015, at Edlind's residence in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Ld at 52:953:15. The court thereafter detained Chujoy at the Rockingham County Regional Jail. Id. at 42:10-12. Trial on the superseding indictment in the Inca's Secret case was set for June 22, 2015. Id. at 42:16-20.

         B. Witness Tampering of Kwiatkowski

         After his re-arrest in March 2015, Chujoy continued to contact friends and family from prison. In particular, Chujoy made multiple attempts to speak with Kwiatkowski or have others, including Edlind, speak with Kwiatkowski on his behalf. Kwiatkowski had a "close" friendship with Chujoy for at least six years, which intensified after Kwiatkowski returned to Harrisonburg in 2013. 12/18 Trial Tr. 72:1-73:8. The two men socialized with several mutual friends, including Edlind. Id. at 72:1-74:7. This friendship made Kwiatkowski a potential witness in the Inca's Secret case. For example, Chujoy told Kwiatkowski that employees at the Inca's Secret Restaurant were undocumented aliens. Id. at 77:21-78:21.[5] Further, Kwiatkowski's cell phone was used to contact other witnesses in the Inca's Secret case, and Kwiatkowski could testify that Chujoy borrowed his phone on several occasions. Id. at 75:12-76:14.

         As part of her investigation in the Inca's Secret case, Agent Ketcham interviewed Kwiatkowski in May 2015. 12/16 Trial Tr. 67:9-13. Kwiatkowski provided a witness statement that was disclosed to Chujoy's defense counsel. Id. He was also subpoenaed to testify during trial of the Inca's Secret case. 12/16 Trial Tr. 26:22-27:3.

         1. "Taco Tuesday" Dinners

         The first relevant contact between Chujoy, Kwiatkowski, and Edlind came in late 2014. After Chujoy's first arrest in the Inca's Secret case, he attended several dnners with Edlind, her husband Gary Edlind, Kwiatkowski, and a friend named Christina Kang. The majority of these dinners took place on "Taco Tuesdays" at the El Charro Restaurant in Harrisonburg. 12/17 Trial Tr. 179:9-180:14; 12/18 Trial Tr. 82:11-83:14. During this period-which stretched from December 2014 to March 2015-Kwiatkowski, Edlind, and Kang were some of Chujoy's closest friends and provided him with "emotional support." 12/18 Trial Tr. 116:22-118:5.

         After Chujoy was re-arrested on March 18, 2015, Edlind continued to organize "Taco Tuesdays" dinners with Kwiatkowski, Kang, and her husband to dscuss Chujoy and his legal situation. Notably, Edlind asked Kang and Kwiatkowski to turn their cell phones off or leave them in the car during these dinners because Edlind believed the "government" could listen to their conversations. 12/17 Trial Tr. 184:2-6. Kang testified that this request made her feel "very uncomfortable" and like she "had to hide something." Id. at 184:2-11.

         The dinners with Edlind, Kwiatkowski, and Kang were sporadic, and occurred approximately once every two or three weeks from late March 2015 until June 2015. 12/17 Trial Tr. 180:7-185:21; 12/18 Trial Tr. 82:11-84:4; 87:16-88:20. During these meetings, Edlind, Kwiatkowski, and Kang discussed their "reactions" to Chujoy's ongoing prosecution, 12/17 Trial Tr. 183:11-22, and Edlind offered updates on Chujoy's condition in prison. 12/18 Trial Tr. 81:20-82:7. Edlind also asked Kwiatkowski to visit Chujoy at the Rockingham County Regional Jail. Id. At one dinner, Edlind and her husband asked Kwiatkowski about his interviews with federal agents. Id. at 94:3-12. Kwiatkowski "brush[ed] off these questions because he "didn't want to tell them that [he had spoken with law enforcement] because then [he] figured they'd ask |him] . . . what [he] said or something like that." Id.

         2. Dinner at Edlind's Home in March 2015

         In addition to the Taco Tuesday dinners, Edlind hosted at least one dinner for Kwiatkowski and Kang at her home in Harrisonburg. This dinner occurred on or about March 25, 2015, only a few weeks after Chujoy was re-arrested on the superseding indictment in the Inca's Secret case. 12/17 Trial Tr. 180:15-182:9; 12/18 Trial Tr. 84:585:1.[6] At this time, Edlind was "obsessing" about Chujoy's case and was worried about the charges pending against him. 12/18 Trial Tr. 128:11-25. During the dinner, Edlind "bash[ed]" Chujoy and disclosed things about him that Kwiatkowski and Kang had not known. Id. at 85:9-21. Further, Edlind and her husband told Kwiatkowski and Kang that if federal agents tried to contact them, they should say that they "d [id] n't know anything because [they] d[id]n't know anything." Id. Kwiatkowski was "kind of shocked" by this statement and found it "strange." Id. at 85:24-86:22. As Kwiatkowski explained at trial:

I felt [the dinner] was really strange . . . and I didn't understand it because I thought it was just going to be a meal about, like, reminiscing [about Chujoy], not finding out stuff that we didn't know about him and then the last part where they were, like, you don't - - just say you don't know anything.

Id. at 87:10-15. However, Kwiatkowski admitted that, at the time, he did not believe he knew anything relevant to the Inca's Secret case, did not feel threatened or intimidated by the Edlinds, did not tell the Edlinds he felt uncomfortable, and continued to attend Taco Tuesday dinners with them. Id. at 129:7-130:12.

         3. Jail-House Phone Calls in April and May 2015

         After being re-arrested in March 2015, Chujoy tried to contact various individuals- including Kwiatkowski-from the Rockingham County Regional Jail. Chujoy used his inmate PIN number to place telephone calls to Edlind, Kwiatkowski, and three other individuals. 12/16 Trial Tr. 70:4-71:19; 12/17 Trial Tr. 9:17-25. Jail officials track phone calls using an inmate's PIN number, which allows deputies to identify which inmate placed a specific outgoing call. 12/17 Trial Tr. 148:23-149:12. Of the five people Chujoy contacted via phone, several, including Edlind and Kwiatkowski, were individuals whose numbers had previously appeared in the call records of witnesses in the Inca's Secret case. 12/17 Trial Tr. 10:1-11:15.

         At trial, the government introduced recordings of eight phone calls Chujoy made using his inmate PIN number. Gov't Exs. 37-54. The first call was to Kwiatkowski on March 31, 2015. Gov't Exs. 37-38. In that call, Chujoy briefly asked Kwiatkowski to visit him at the jail. Gov't Ex. 38. Kwiatkowski testified that Chujoy also called him on several other occasions to encourage him to visit the jail. 12/18 Trial Tr. 79:17-82:9. Recordings of those calls were not introduced at trial.

         The other seven recorded phone calls were to Edlind, and took place between April 5, 2015 and May 1, 2015. Gov't Exs. 41-54.[7] In each, Chujoy asked Edlind if she has talked to Kwiatkowski, tells Edlind to encourage Kwiatkowski to visit him in the jail, and confirms that Kwiatkowski is on his visitation list. Gov't Exs. 41-54. Kwiatkowski never visited Chujoy because he "didn't really want to be a part of this" and "didn't want to visit him." 12/18 Trial Tr. 81:15-19. However, Kwiatkowski testified that Edlind reminded him on multiple occasions that he was on Chujoy's visitation list, and asked him if he was going to visit Chujoy in jail. Id. at 79:17-82:9.

         4. Chujoy Receives Kwiatkowski's Witness Statement in June 2015

         On or about June 2, 2015, Chujoy met with his defense counsel to prepare for trial in the Inca's Secret case, then scheduled to begin on June 22, 2015. During this meeting, Chujoy was given a copy of Kwiatkowski's interview with federal investigators. Gov't Ex. 28.2. Chujoy was disturbed by Kwiatkowski's statements; he stated in a letter sent to Edlind on June 3, 2015 that he was "pretty shocked" by Kwiatkowski's interview and that he hoped "it [was] either a big misunderstanding or that the feds are twisting it around." Id. Indeed, Chujoy's receipt of Kwiatkowski's interview set off a flurry of activity as described below.

         5. Jail-House Phone Calls in June 2015

         At some point, Chujoy began using PIN numbers from other inmates to make phone calls. Using another inmate's PIN number makes it more difficult to track jail phone calls, since calls made using another inmate's PIN number are logged to the owner's account, not the account of the inmate placing the call. 12/17 Trial Tr. 148:23-149:12. The government offered evidence that Chujoy knew his jail phone calls were being recorded, and that Chujoy's jail commissary balance-from which the cost of phone calls are deducted- showed a positive balance on days when Chujoy placed phone calls using PIN numbers from other inmates. Id. at 37:4-40:19; Gov't Exs. 28.1, 33.

         In total, the government obtained eleven calls Chujoy made using another inmate's PIN numbers. 12/17 Trial Tr. at 24:19-26:9. Of these eleven calls, ten were made to Donald Smith, Chujoy's friend and then-deputy sheriff in Augusta County, Virginia. Id. at 24:19-26:9. Smith was also a witness in the Inca's Secret case. Like Kwiatkowski, Smith loaned his cell phone to Chujoy on multiple occasions, and Smith's cell phone number was dscovered in the call records of witnesses in the Inca's Secret case. 12/17 Trial Tr. 29:24- 30:20.

         The government offered recordngs from four of these calls, which were placed between May 29, 2015, and June 14, 2015. Gov't Exs. 56.1-63. In the first call from May 29, Chujoy and Smith briefly dscussed Smith's previous interview with law enforcement about the Inca's Secret case. Gov't Ex. 57. During the second call-which occurred on June 2-Chujoy told Smith that "Mike" was the reason federal agents had interviewed Smith and encouraged Smith to contact "Mike." Gov't Ex. 59. Subsequent evidence made it clear that "Mike" was Michael Kwiatkowski.

         The third call came two days later, on June 5, 2015. Gov't Ex. 61. Chujoy discussed Kwiatkowski's interview with federal agents, including statements Kwiatkowski made about Chujoy's ownership of a home in Harrisonburg and Alvarado's ownership of other homes abroad. Gov't Ex. 60.1 3:15-4:02. Chujoy was concerned Kwiatkowski was mistaken about the ownership of these homes. Id. Specifically, the following exchange occurred on the June 5 call:

* * * *
Chujoy: The problem, the problem is, that a lot of you know - I, I think [Kwiatkowski] doesn't understand the fact that, you know, how I would always be joking with him?
Smith: Yeah.
Chujoy: And then he would take it seriously?
Smith: Yeah.
Chujoy: And everybody knew it that it was just a joke but him? That's where a lot of the confusion comes, because like he . . . so just clarify that, because I mean well some of it is just crazy, you know?
Smith: Well, I don't want to go to talk to Mike, if Mike's gonna just tell them a bunch of bullshit, and it's gonna bother you. I mean it's gonna hurt... I don't wanna do that.
Chujoy: I know, but I think . . . that he, he needs to realize that fact that . . . that I don't know if he realizes the fact that there was a lot of . . . like, I don't think he understands the miscommunication there was because of the fact that he wouldn't understand when things were a joke and when things weren't a joke, you know?
Smith: Yeah.
* * * *
Chujoy: But yeah, if you could try clarifying that with him it'll be good or or getting him to, to, to come by, come into town or something, you know?
Smith: Who you talkin' about, Mike?
Chujoy: Uh huh.
Smith: Well, I don't know when I ever see Mike and I don't really, you know, I can try to talk to him, but I don't really want to say, you know, I don't really want to say anything to him that, you know, where they'll come after me saying I tried to, you know, change his testimony I mean I don't want to -
Chujoy: Okay, never mind then.
Smith: You know, I don't want to -
Chujoy: Okay, it's no big deal then.
Smith: But I'll, I'll do what I can.

Gov't Ex. 61. At trial, Smith testified that he never spoke with Kwiatkowski and stated that "pressur[ing]" Kwiatkowski would be "against the law." 12/17 Trial Tr. 219:15-22; 223:2224:17. However, Smith also believed Chujoy was trying to get Kwiatkowski to tell the truth about the ownership of these homes. Id. at 244:22-245:9.

         Finally, Chujoy told Smith on the June 5 call that he had sent Smith a letter about Kwiatkowski, and asked if Smith had received it. Gov't Ex. 61. Smith told Chujoy that he had not, and stated he had also not spoken with Kwiatkowski. Id. Chujoy told Smith the letter should arrive "today or tomorrow." Id. He also asked Smith to speak with his "aunt"-which Smith understood to be Edlind-because Chujoy had written her a letter with "more details." Id; see also 12/17 Trial Tr. 218:19-25. Smith never contacted Edlind about Chujoy's letters because Smith "didn't have time." 12/17 Trial Tr. 219:1-5.

         A fourth call between Chujoy and Smith occurred on June 14, 2015. Gov't Ex. 63. Chujoy again asked if Smith had received his letter about Kwiatkowski, and Smith said he had not. Id.[8] Chujoy also told Smith to "remember" that Chujoy had previously borrowed cell phones from other people because he had a "crappy phone" that he "could barely hear." Id.

         6. Letter from Chujoy to Edlind Dated June 3, 2015

         Chujoy also maintained a steady contact with Edlind from jail. In addition to jail phone calls, Edlind visited Chujoy in the jail at least nine times between April and June 2015. Gov't Ex. 35. Chujoy also wrote several letters to Edlind. Of particular importance is a letter dated June 3, 2015. In the June 3 letter, Chujoy described Kwiatkowski's interview with federal agents and asked Edlind to contact Kwiatkowski. The letter stated:

I'm going to keep this very short in hopes that it reaches you by or before Saturday. I met w[ith] my attorney yesterday [and] he read me Mike Kwiatkowski's interview w[ith] the feds. I'm pretty shocked by what it says, so I'm hoping that is either a big misunderstanding or that the feds are twisting it around. The interview says that according to Mike, my mom was very intimidating, that I can't be trusted, and that I'm always lying and making up stories. It goes on into more specific stories and examples that made me laugh, as I realized that Mike really is as dumb as a door knob, as he obviously could not understand/differentiate when I was joking and when I was being serious. His entire testimony/interview reminded me of a big misunderstanding that we (Mike, Christina [Kang] & I) had over a joke, when I told Christina that he was mildly retarded.
Please make sure to meet with both of them so that Mike understands that much of the information he gave out is incorrect and could lead into me getting into a huge problem. Be nice to him about it, as I wouldn't want to offend him or have him take things personal. I understand that my jokes are sometimes stupid [and] between that [and] him not being able to tell when I was joking or not, his comments/interview are ludicrous.
I hope you get to meet w[ith] them ASAP, as clarifying all this is pretty crucial.
* * * *
P.S. He should probably also clarify that we didn't really start hanging out until half way through 2014, as that would probably explain why we were always on two different pages [and] why he didn't really know much about me, or why he couldn't tell when I was joking.

Gov't Ex. 28.2 (emphasis in original). This letter was dated two days before Chujoy's June 5 phone call to Smith, in which Chujoy also asked Smith to speak with Kwiatkowski. Gov't Exs. 60.1, 61.

         After receiving the June 3 letter, Edlind reached out to Kwiatkowski. First, Edlind contacted Kwiatkowski by phone-though Kwiatkowski could not recall the exact date of this phone call-and stated that Chujoy had written Kwiatkowski a letter. 12/18 Trial Tr. 96:5-97:8. However, Edlind refused to read the letter to Kwiatkowski or describe its contents. Id. Instead, she encouraged Kwiatkowski to pick the letter up in person. Id.

         On June 6, 2015-three days after Chujoy wrote Edlind-Edlind visited Chujoy in the Rockingham County Regional Jail. Gov't Ex. 35. A few hours later, Edlind sent Kwiatkowski and Kang a text message to arrange a meeting. Gov't Ex. 30. In her initial text message, Edlind stated that it was "very important we meet this week!!!! please [sic] contact me if you can't do Tuesday" and hinted that there was "serious stuff to discuss." Id. Kang replied that she would prefer to speak via phone, and Kwiatkowski stated that he "probably shouldn't be talking about" things that could not be discussed via phone. Id. In response, Edlind stated "not on the phone you know why" and "the phones are bugged you know that enslave [sic] the phones in the car will be fine like we have in the past." Id. Edlind's final text stated that "you guys opt out I'll tell Felix don't worry about it I don't need to stress either." Id.

         Despite his reservations, Kwiatkowski made plans to meet with Edlind on June 16, 2015 at the El Charro Restaurant. Gov't Ex. 31. This meeting was six days before Chujoy's June 22 trial in the Inca's Secret case. Kang did not respond further to Edlind's June 6 text message, and did not attend the subsequent dinner meeting. Kang testified that Edlind's message made her feel "uncomfortable" and "like we were being put in a situation where we had to be secretive about things that were either allowed to be discussed or weren't, but the fact that we had to put out phones in the car, there's this feeling of secrecy that I felt uncomfortable participating in ... I didn't want to go." 12/17 Trial Tr. 189:20-190:14.

         7. Dinner at El Charro on June 16, 2015

         Prior to June 16, Kwiatkowski told federal agents about Edlind's text message and agreed to wear a recording device to the El Charro dinner. 12/18 Trial Tr. 98:13-100:24. The government introduced a full recording of the dinner, as well as various excerpts. Gov't Exs. 66-92. Three people attended the June 16 dinner: Edlind, her husband Gary Edlind, and Kwiatkowski. 12/18 Trial Tr. 101:16-17. As Kwiatkowski arrived, Edlind told him to sit on his phone or leave it outside. 12/18 Trial Tr. 101:19-24. Kwiatkowski complied, and left his phone outside. Id. at 102:7-10.

         The Edlinds and Kwiatkowski then engaged in a somewhat meandering conversation that lasted approximately an hour. See Gov't Ex. 92. At first, Edlind said that Chujoy had written Kwiatkowski a letter telling him "not to say anything, don't write him, or do nothing." Gov't Ex. 69. Edlind later clarified that Chujoy did not write a letter to Kwiatkowski, but rather wrote a letter to Edlind instructing her to tell Kwiatkowski "not to mention anything about that and don't contact because . . . [t]hey're reading the mail." Gov't Ex. 75. It is not clear from the transcript just what Chujoy wanted Edlind to tell Kwiatkowski not to mention.

         Both Edlind and her husband also discussed facts relevant to the Inca's Secret case, including that Chujoy and Alvarado had used friends' cell phones to contact witnesses, and that Edlind thought some of the charges had been a set-up. Gov't Exs. 77, 79, 81, 87, 89. At one point, Edlind corrected Kwiatkowski when he stated that Chujoy was a manager at Inca's Secret, stating that Chujoy was only a "volunteer" at the restaurant. Gov't Ex. 83. Edlind then described how hard it was to tell when Chujoy was joking, called both Alvarado and Chujoy liars, and stated that "you can tell them nothing." Gov't Ex. 85.

         At the conclusion of the meeting, Edlind told Kwiatkowski that he did not need to meet with prosecutors if they offered to speak with him before trial. Gov't Ex. 91. However, Edlind encouraged Kwiatkowski to abide by his trial subpoena and assured him that he was not a target of the pending prosecution. Gov't Ex. 92 43:05-49:10. Both Edlinds also told Kwiatkowski to "tell the truth" and to not worry if his testimony was damaging to Chujoy. Id. at 45:25-46:20; 12/18 Trial Tr. 137:2-12. Kwiatkowski testified that he dd not believe the Edlinds were attempting to "trick" or "mislead" him during the dnner on June 16, agreed that the Edlinds dd not tell him what to say or what not to say in court, and stated he did not feel threatened or intimidated by the Edlinds. 12/18 Trial Tr. 137:13-138:13.

         8. Continuance of the Inca's Secret Trial

         Following the June 16 dinner, the June 22 trial in the Inca's Secret case was continued for reasons unrelated to the instant case. 12/16 Trial Tr. 43:16-45:25. After the continuance, Chujoy was re-released on bond and again ordered to have no contact with potential witnesses. Id. at 46:1-25. Despite this order, Chujoy exchanged text messages with Kwiatkowski between August 1, 2015 and August 29, 2015. Gov't Ex. 32. In these messages, Chujoy invited Kwiatkowski to join him at multiple social events. See Id. Kwiatkowski responded several times, but did not meet with Chujoy in person. Id. Finally, Kwiatkowski messaged Chujoy on August 29, saying that it was not "a good idea to be in contact until things settle down after the court date." Id. Chujoy responded that he "completely understood" and stated that "I haven't really texted you or anything though, at least not to my knowledge." Id. Kwiatkowski found this last response confusing because it was "obviously not true." 12/18 Trial Tr. 110:4-22.

         Chujoy also contacted Smith and Kang after his release in late June. While recovering several personal items from Smith, Chujoy mentioned again that Kwiatkowski had "said a bunch of stuff that wasn't true." 12/17 Trial Tr. 238:20-241:1. However, Smith testified that he never "sat down and plotted anything with [Chujoy]" and stated that he never "talked to [Chujoy] about going and talking to Mike." Id. at 239:22-240:4. For her part, Kang told Chujoy it was "best" if they had no further contact. Id. at 191:20-192:9.

         C. Edlind's Alleged ...


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