EB-5 Judge Says No to Joop Bollen’s Requests
Joop Bollen and his attorney made an appearance before Tony L. Portra December 29th for pre-trial motions in Aberdeen at the Brown County Courthouse.
Bollen pled not guilty last summer to five counts of misusing funds in a state bank account tagged for state use only, in association with the EB-5 investment for visa program. Cory Heidelberger observed the proceedings inside the courtroom:
Bollen came to court today in jeans and a tan, hooded work jacket, with sleeves pushed up, showing the dark hair on his lean arms. He sat alone at the defense table ten minutes before his older son. When the attorneys emerged from the judge’s chamber at 1:10 p.m., Bollen’s attorney Reed Rasmussen took Bollen out of the courtroom to converse private for the hearing’s scheduled beginning at 1 p.m. Two pews back sat his current wife, his ex-wife, and five minutes. They returned five minutes later, with Bollen looking appropriately serious. Judge Portra entered a couple minutes later. During Rasmussen’s statements, Bollen frequently watched the judge intently and nodded to reinforce his attorney’s points. On one occasion, Bollen silently mouthed “No” toward the judge in response to one of Rasmussen’s rhetorical questions attacking the state’s arguments. While Assistant Attorney Generals Paul Swedlund and Brent Kempema spoke, Bollen fixed his grave gaze on them. In apparent response to the state’s statements, Bollen occasionally whispered serious and vigorous corrections and rebuttals to Rasmussen.
Bollen's Attorney Reed Rasmussen made several requests, which were denied or delayed:
- Request to dismiss the trial: Judge Portra said he would decide and issue a written statement at a later time.
- Objection to informing jury of Bollen's purchases: The Judge says purchase information can be provided to jury members. Documented spending includes Antiques from Egypt and TIF bonds for Northern Beef Packers, which was also partially funded by the EB-5 program.
- Request to depose: Rasmussen suggested the State is corrupt, is placing the blame on Bollen and they need to "find out what's going on behind the scenes in Pierre." A request to depose the Governor's Office, Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and the State Banking Commission was denied.
The next scheduled court date is Tuesday February 7, 2017 at the Brown County Courthouse in Aberdeen.