BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — Lawyers for a Miami businessman accused in a multimillion-dollar fraud case in northern Vermont want his trial moved out of state because of what they call "inflammatory pretrial publicity."
In court papers filed late Tuesday, lawyers for Ariel Quiros wrote that he cannot get a fair trial in Vermont.
"Spurred on by the Government and other federal and State politicians who have scapegoated Mr. Quiros to deflect attention from their own involvement in the charged conduct, the Vermont media have convicted Mr. Quiros before he has had his day in Court."
A grand jury has indicted Quiros, the former owner of Jay Peak ski resort; William Stenger, the former president of the resort; William Kelly, an adviser to Quiros; and Jong Weon Choi, a South Korean businessman. They are accused of conspiring to embezzle investors' funds and deceive investors about the AnC Bio Vermont project's number of jobs and ability to generate revenue.
Quiros, Kelly and Stenger pleaded not guilty in May to engaging in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud; participating in that conspiracy; wire fraud; and concealing facts about the plant's investor funds. Quiros also pleaded not guilty to money laundering. A prosecutor said at the time that Choi remained at large. A phone message was left Wednesday for Choi's attorney.
Both Quiros and Stenger have reached settlements with the state and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission after they were accused of misusing more than $200 million raised from foreign investors for a number of projects. Quiros has admitted no wrongdoing.
In Tuesday's motion, Quiros also sought to have the indictment dismissed, saying the relationships between the two U.S. attorneys who oversaw the investigation and key federal and state officials caused a conflict of interest and tainted the investigation. A spokesman for the office of Vermont U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan said Wednesday that they would not be commenting.