CANADIAN LAWYER CONVICTED OF TWO COUNTS OF WITNESS TAMPERING
KULDIP S. CHAGGAR, 43, of Vancouver, British Columbia was convicted today in U.S. District Court in Seattle of two counts of Witness Tampering. CHAGGAR was convicted following a five day trial in front of U.S. District Court Judge John C. Coughenour. The Court returned guilty verdicts on both counts of the Indictment. CHAGGAR faces a maximum prison term of 10 years when he is sentenced in August 2005.
The Indictment alleged that CHAGGAR tampered with a defendant in a criminal case who was then incarcerated at the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac, Washington. The incarcerated defendant was cooperating as a witness against other co-defendants in the same case. Without the knowledge of the attorney representing the incarcerated defendant, CHAGGAR met with the incarcerated defendant and told her to change her testimony. CHAGGAR, an attorney licensed to practice in Canada, had been retained by one of the other co-defendants in Canada.
"This crime struck to the heart of the justice system. The Department of Justice is pleased that the Court's verdict made clear that improper attempts to influence witnesses in federal criminal cases will not be tolerated," said United States Attorney John McKay.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigated this case. "This case constituted an egregious violation by an officer of the court. Mr. Chaggar's conviction not only strengthens our judicial system but sends a clear message that those who try to subvert the tenets of our courts will be held accountable," said Rodney G. Benson, DEA Special Agent in Charge.