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Navy officers convicted in `Fat Leonard' case to plead guilty to new charges

Leonard Francis, a Malaysian defense contractor nicknamed "Fat Leonard," who orchestrated one of the largest bribery scandals in U.S. military history, has been arrested in Venezuela after fleeing before his sentencing, authorities said.
U.S. Marshals Service via AP, File
Leonard Francis, a Malaysian defense contractor nicknamed "Fat Leonard," who orchestrated one of the largest bribery scandals in U.S. military history, was arrested in Venezuela after fleeing before his sentencing in 2022, authorities said. He remains in Venezuela.

Four former U.S. Navy officers convicted in San Diego of accepting bribes from foreign defense contractor Leonard Glenn "Fat Leonard" Francis are slated to plead guilty to new federal charges later this year, court records indicated on Friday.

The former officers, who argued in court filings earlier this year that their convictions should be overturned due to prosecutorial misconduct, are now slated to appear in court Sept. 6 for a change of plea hearing, according to an online federal court docket entry dated Friday.

The entry does not provide any information on what charges former Capts. David Newland, James Dolan and David Lausman and former Cmdr. Mario Herrera might plead to, but the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the U.S. Attorney's Office is expected to move to withdraw their current convictions so they may plead to new misdemeanor charges.


The men were convicted last year by a San Diego federal jury on charges of accepting gifts in exchange for providing assistance to Francis' ship husbanding company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia. Prosecutors allege Francis plied the officers with fancy hotel stays, meals and prostitutes, and in return received classified Navy information and had ships steered to ports his company controlled, which allowed him to overbill the Navy by millions.

Jurors were unable to reach verdicts against a fifth officer, Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless, and prosecutors later dismissed the charges against him. Dozens of other officers, GDMA employees and others have pleaded guilty, including Francis himself, who remains in Venezuela after fleeing San Diego, where he remained on house arrest for several years.

Earlier this year, the four convicted officers alleged that their trial was rife with misconduct on the part of prosecutors, who they alleged concealed evidence from the defense and prepped witnesses to provide false testimony.

Those claims included allegations that prosecutors withheld statements from a sex worker who told federal agents she did not have sex with Lausman, despite the prosecution alleging she did.

Defense attorneys also alleged a federal agent who testified made inaccurate statements in his arrest warrant affidavit in an unrelated, but similar, bribery case. The defense claimed prosecutors hid evidence regarding the alleged false statements and that the agent was relied upon to provide overarching testimony in their trial despite his apparent earlier misstatements.


The credibility of other witnesses who testified in the trial and the prosecution's handling of their testimony was also scrutinized in the defense motion, which alleged several witnesses were coached or lied to appease prosecutors.