In May, prosecutors in the Rudy Kurniawan case submitted a letter to the court requesting the opportunity to depose a star-studded lineup of witnesses from Burgundy’s top estates: Laurent Ponsot (Domaine Ponsot), Aubert de Villaine (Domaine de la Romanée-Conti), and Christophe Roumier (Domaine Georges Roumier). The Government stated that these witnesses would not be available to testify at the trial (scheduled to begin September 9) because of harvest, and that they wished to depose them to preserve their testimony for trial. According to the letter, “all three witnesses will present highly relevant and necessary testimony that no other witness can offer about allegedly counterfeit bottles of wine discussed in the Superseding Indictment.” On May 6, the Court granted the Government’s request.
Apparently, the prosecutors changed their mind. According to the case docket, a June 4 letter sent by prosecutors to the court stated that “the Government will not be deposing the French winemakers that the Court authorized the parties to depose.” It’s unclear whether this means that the Government now expects these witnesses to be available to testify at trial, or whether they plan on presenting their case without these witnesses’ testimony. A copy of the letter was not available on ECF at the time I wrote this post.
A status conference in the case is scheduled for next Monday, July 8.
A copy of the May letter is available here: SDNY Letter re Kurniawan Wine Fraud
UPDATE: JULY 6, 2013
On WineBerserkers, Don Cornwell writes that its his understanding that the three winemakers will not be deposed, but instead will testify at the trial itself now that the Burgundy harvest is expected to be late this year. (Can someone please organize a mini La Paulée in NYC this September?). As some of you know, Don has a lot of cred on all things related to this case.