Plea deal offered to former Clark executive

A criminal case that began with a dramatic federal search of a Lexington company's headquarters in 2004 appears headed for a quiet ending.

Federal prosecutors have offered a plea deal to former Clark Material Handing Co. executive Robert E. Quinn that could end the 4-year-old case at an Aug. 26 hearing in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

In documents filed with the court, prosecutors are now charging Quinn with one felony count of lying to investigators on Dec. 28, 2004, during the search of Clark's headquarters.

Quinn's boss at Clark, David Tatum, pleaded guilty earlier to the same charge and was placed on probation for 12 months.

The case began when agents searched Clark's headquarters seeking evidence that forklift parts had been shipped to a company in the United Arab Emirates that Clark knew was shipping the parts to Iran in violation of the U.S. trade embargo.

Quinn originally was charged with one count of conspiracy and five counts of violating the U.S. trade embargo with Iran. He was convicted on all counts in 2005 and sentenced to 39 months in prison.

The same jury found a co-defendant, Clark employee Michael Holland, not guilty on all counts.

Quinn's conviction was voided and a new trial ordered in March after a federal judge found that U.S. attorneys had withheld an e-mail that would have helped Quinn's defense.

“The slate was wiped clean,” said Larry A. Mackey, an Indianapolis lawyer who represented Quinn.

The plea deal was “obviously an enormous concession” by prosecutors, Mackey added. “It greatly benefitted Bob (Quinn) and his family, so we are pleased about the development.”

Quinn said during his trial that he helped make the indirect shipments after being told by Tatum that they did not violate the embargo.

Tatum, who was not called to testify, told agents he had instructed Quinn not to make the shipments because of the embargo.

Later it was learned that prosecutors had uncovered a 2004 e-mail that showed Tatum had lied and that they had withheld the e-mail during Quinn's trial.

Two months after Quinn was sentenced, Tatum pleaded guilty to lying to agents and a new trial was ordered for Quinn.

The new charge accuses Quinn of lying when he told agents he never coordinated shipments to Iran, that he had provided price quotes to the Iranians but no orders were made, and that he did not know about the relationship between the companies in the United Arab Emirates and Iran, “when in truth and in fact the defendant knew at the time he made these statements to the agents that they were false.”