For the second time since being extradited in January, Colombian-Panamanian businessman Nidal Waked Hatum has failed to persuade a federal judge in Miami to free him on bond so he can be with members of his family while his money laundering case unfolds.
In a ruling last week, U.S. District Judge Robert Scola denied Waked Hatum's request to revoke the previous order by a duty magistrate judge who rejected the defendant's original request for bail.
Scola's decision means that Waked Hatum will have to remain in custody until his trial, which has tentatively been scheduled to begin Oct. 30.
Frank Tamen, the U.S. prosecutor assigned to the case, told the court that the government needs 10 days to present its case against Waked Hatum, while the defendant's lawyer, Norman Moscowitz, said he would need two to three weeks to present his evidence to the jury.
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Waked Hatum, 45, has pleaded not guilty to charges of "knowingly and willfully" engaging in financial and monetary transactions designed to conceal drug-trafficking proceeds. The duty magistrate at the time, John O'Sullivan, denied Waked Hatum's bond request.
Born in Colombia, Waked Hatum, lived in Panama where he had businesses and citizenship, as well as having a passport from Spain and residence in Canada. Waked Hatum’s multiple passports and apparent access to money swayed both O'Sullivan and later Scola to deny release on bond.
Tamen, the prosecutor, repeated these reasons in a court document for Scola's consideration at last week's hearing on the second bond request.
“To begin with,” Tamen wrote in his filing, “it should be noted that the defendant is an alien who holds citizenship in three foreign countries and residency in a fourth, but who has no ties to the United States. His wife and children are similarly citizens of foreign countries, and his wife has been denied admission into the United States. Such factors create an obvious incentive to flee.”
Tamen also noted in his filing that federal immigration authorities have issued a “detainer” on Waked Hatum.
“If he were to be released from FDC Miami [the federal detention center downtown] he would immediately be transferred to immigration custody at the Krome Detention Center,” Tamen wrote.