Judge Denies Frankel Aide Request for Separate Trial

Diane Scarponi, Associated Press
March 18, 2002

A federal judge has refused to dismiss racketeering charges against a former aide to disgraced financier Martin Frankel and denied a request that she be tried separately.

U.S. District Judge Ellen Bree Burns found the government properly charged Mona Kim, who managed Frankel's Greenwich compound.

Burns also ruled that Kim's right to a fair trial would not be prejudiced if she were tried along with Frankel and three other co-defendants.

Frankel is accused of stealing $200 million he was supposed to invest from insurance companies in five states. He was arrested in Germany in 1999 after an international manhunt.

Kim, of North Caldwell, N.J., is charged with seven counts in a 48-count indictment against Frankel and his associates. She has pleaded innocent to two counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering and one count each of racketeering and conspiracy.

In asking the court for a separate trial, Kim argued that she was a "low-level functionary" in Frankel's alleged scheme.

In a ruling March 6, Burns said that even if Kim were tried separately, virtually the same evidence from a joint trial would be admissible.

Kim claims that she was acting on orders from her boss and had no knowledge of Frankel's activities. She asked to have the racketeering charges dismissed on the grounds she did not direct or manage the insurance-looting scheme.

Mullin declined Monday to comment on the judge's ruling.

Frankel is jailed in Rhode Island awaiting trial in U.S. District Court in New Haven on charges of racketeering, fraud and conspiracy.

He and the other alleged co-conspirators, Sonia Howe and Gary Atnip, have pleaded innocent. Their trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 1.

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