At the conclusion of a weeks-long trial in May, a federal jury in Nashville found three out of nine defendants guilty of charges stemming from a massive indictment on alleged sex-trafficking charges included up to 30 people.
But federal Judge William J. Haynes Jr. nullified the jury’s decision in part on Wednesday, issuing an order to acquit Idris Fahra, 25, Andrew Kayachith, 22, and Yassin Yusuf, 22, of the charges against them.
Haynes granted the defendants’ motions to acquit due to the government’s charge of a single conspiracy. Defense attorneys for Fahra, Kayachith and Yusuf successfully argued that the government’s indictment — which covered a decade of alleged illegal actions — constituted multiple conspiracies.
“It is necessary to show that each alleged member agreed to participate in what he knew to be a collective venture directed toward a common goal,” Haynes wrote in a memorandum, citing case law from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.
Haynes’ memorandum also addressed concerns about the veracity of testimony from one of the alleged victims, Jane Doe 2. Before the trial, the government dropped all charges related to victim Jane Doe 1, which raised questions about Jane Doe 2.
The government originally argued that Jane Doe 2 had been a minor during the alleged sex trafficking. She testified at trial that her birth date was in 1996, according to court filings. Defense attorneys, however, found several pieces of evidence, including testimony from relatives, that stated Jane Doe 2 was actually born in 1990 or 1991.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office could appeal Haynes’ decision on the motions to the 6th Circuit Court. If the court rules in favor of the appeals, Yusuf, Kayachith and Fahra would then be entitled to new trials.
Several defendants who were severed from the main case and transferred to a separate one are still awaiting trial.