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Five Indicted in Feeding Our Future Jury Bribery Scheme

MINNEAPOLIS – Five defendants have been indicted for their roles in a conspiracy to provide a $120,000 bribe to a juror in the Feeding Our Future trial, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.

According to court documents, on April 22, 2024, seven defendants went to trial before U.S. District Judge Nancy E. Brasel for their roles in the Feeding Our Future fraud scheme. During the trial, Abdiaziz Shafii Farah, 35, of Savage, Abdimajid Mohamed Nur, 23, of Shakopee, Said Shafii Farah, 42, of Minneapolis, Abdulkarim Shafii Farah, 24, of Minneapolis, and Ladan Mohamed Ali, 31, of Seattle, Washington, conspired with each other to provide a cash bribe to one of the jurors in exchange for the juror returning a not guilty verdict in the trial.

As part of the scheme, the conspirators decided to target Juror 52 because she was the youngest juror and they believed her to be the only juror of color. The conspirators conducted online research to obtain Juror 52's personal information, including her home address and information about her background and family members. They conducted surveillance of Juror 52 to confirm her home address and obtain information about Juror 52's daily habits. One of the conspirators followed Juror 52 home as she left the courthouse during the trial, and they purchased a GPS tracking device to covertly install on Juror 52's car in order to track her movements.

As part of the scheme, the conspirators obtained approximately $200,000 in cash to be delivered and paid to Juror 52 as a bribe in exchange for a not guilty verdict in the trial. The conspirators drafted a list of instructions for Juror 52 that included directions for her to vote "NOT GUILTY ON ALL COUNTS FOR ALL DEFENDANTS" and to "convince all the remaining jurors to mark NOT GUILTY for all defendants and all counts." The conspirators compiled a list of "arguments to convince other jurors," many of which appeared designed to convince Juror 52 that the prosecution was motivated by racial animus.

According to court documents, on May 30, 2024, Ali flew from Seattle to Minneapolis to carry out the bribery scheme. On May 31, 2024, Ali attempted to follow Juror 52 home as she left a downtown Minneapolis parking ramp at the conclusion of the first day of closing arguments in the trial. On June 2, 2024, Abdiaziz Farah instructed Nur to meet him at Said Farah's business, Bushra Wholesalers, to pick up the bribe money. Later that day, Nur met with Ali and gave her a box containing the bribe money he had received from Said Farah. Ali took the money and put it inside a Hallmark gift bag. At approximately 8:50 p.m. that evening, Abdulkarim Farah and Ali drove to Juror 52's house. Ali approached the house and handed the gift bag containing $120,000 in bribe money to a relative of Juror 52 and explained that the money was a present in exchange for a not guilty verdict. Ali promised that there would be more money if Juror 52 voted to acquit all the defendants. Abdulkarim Farah remained in the car and took a video recording of Ali dropping off the bribe money at Juror 52's house. Abdulkarim Farah sent the video to his co-conspirators using an encrypted messaging app.

According to court documents, on June 3, 2024, after being ordered by Judge Brasel to surrender their phones to law enforcement, Abdiaziz Farah conducted a factory reset of his iPhone in order to delete the messages, video, and other evidence of the bribe attempt. Nur and Said Farah also deleted evidence of the bribe attempt from their phones.

The indictment charges all five defendants with conspiracy to bribe a juror, bribery of a juror, and corruptly influencing a juror. Abdiaziz Farah was also charged with obstruction of justice. The defendants will begin making their initial appearances this afternoon in U.S. District Court before Magistrate Judge Douglas L. Micko.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI with assistance from IRS – Criminal Investigations, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph H. Thompson, Matthew Ebert, Harry Jacobs, Chelsea Walcker, and Daniel Bobier are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

 

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