What is an Arraignment Hearing

What is an Arraignment Hearing?

This is the last post in this 6 part series, telling the story of my Victimless Indictment…What is Arraignment and what happens at the hearing?

Since so many of you, my friends and family, have been keeping up with what’s been happening with my life the last couple of years, these questions have come up more than once. I’m going to tell you just what an Arraignment hearing is, how Kristin interfered with mine, and then tell you why it’s so important to me and my children.

What is an Arraignment Hearing?

When charged with a criminal offense, the first time you enter the courthouse as a defendant the judge will formally state the charges against you.

This ‘arraignment’ is the first step in the U.S. criminal justice process, after the arrest, booking, and initial bail setting.

What Happens at an Arraignment?

At the arraignment hearing the judge:

  1. Reads the criminal charges against the defendant;
  2. Asks if the defendant has an attorney or needs the services of a court-appointed attorney;
  3. Asks the defendant how he/she pleads: guilty, not guilty or nolo contendere (no contest) which means the defendant 1. does not admit guilt and 2. waives the right to a trial and authorizes the court to impose punishment at sentencing;
  4. Decides whether to alter the amount previously set as bail or to release the defendant on their own recognizance (which means the defendant promises, in writing, to show up for upcoming court dates and other legal proceedings related to the case and doesn’t have to pay bail or post a bond; and
  5. Announces dates for future proceedings (like hearings or the trial.)

My Arraignment Held on June 3, 2019

was the date I was arraigned for my federal indictment. Here’s what happened: my defense attorney, Bart Daniel, introduced himself to the court and informed the court that he was making a “general appearance.”

Kristin Mehera Leiter Golestan showed up with her criminal defense attorney, Jerry Theos. She came, not to support the father of her children, but to watch me being handcuffed and taken to prison.

What is a “General Appearance”?

By saying he was making a “general appearance,” Bart Daniel was telling the court that he was my authorized representative throughout the entire case for all purposes related to the federal indictment. If he had said he was making a “special appearance” it would have meant that he was only going to represent me for the arraignment, or some other specific portion of the overall indictment process.

FBI Asked for Secured Bond, Surrendered Passport

The FBI argued for a secured bond, for me to surrender my passport, and to be banned from traveling internationally. However, Bart Daniel argued that I needed to travel for business, as I had lost the majority of my customers and employees due to the indictment, and that I couldn’t pay for a secured bond and pay child support and alimony to Kristin.

Judge Disagrees with the FBI

The presiding judge, the Honorable Mary Gordon Baker found that, due to my strong ties with my children and my business being in the U.S. she didn’t see me as a flight risk. Judge Baker then denied the government’s requests as unreasonable and granted me a $500,000 unsecured bond (I was not detained), allowing me to retain my passport and to travel internationally. You can see a copy of my bond agreement here.

Since then I have left the United States on multiple occasions—returning every single time, of course.

Cozy with the FBI?

During the hearing, both Bart Daniel and I observed that Kristin and her attorneys were sitting close to and speaking with FBI representatives as though they all knew each other. Kristin and her counsel seemed very disappointed with the ruling, that not only I wasn’t detained, I was allowed to retain my passport and travel internationally.

Merely three weeks after my arraignment hearing, Kristin gave multiple official 302 testimonies to the FBI, fabricating a set of lies, including that she was scared I would flee the country and would take my children with me. Coincidence? I don’t know for certain, but I wonder if the ruling of my arraignment hearing had anything to do with the false testimonies she gave to the FBI. More on that in upcoming blog posts.

Kristin’s Alienation Attempts

The children’s therapist, Karen Tarpey, told my former counsel, Ingrid Rudolph, that Kristin had called Karen to say “Amir is going to prison at his arraignment hearing.”
Not only Kristin has spread false rumors about me to Karen Tarpey, she began telling our six-year-old son, Sky, many falsehoods about me, including:

“Daddy is going before a judge in month of November because he was mean to mommy.”

Hard to believe, right? Let’s listen to this directly from Sky, telling the guardian ad litem, Maria Averill, what mommy (Kristin) told him:

You can view the transcript of this recording here.
Amir Golestan Fishing with His Son

Again, the guardian heard this directly from Sky. This wasn’t something I relayed to her. This wasn’t hearsay. She heard it, just as you heard the recording. Guess what did Maria Averill do to safeguard the children she’s tasked with protecting? Nothing! More on that in upcoming stories.

So… I need to stop this true story right here and ask some deeply important questions:

How is it that Kristin Golestan has gotten away with spreading a damaging web of deceit about all these matters? On what authority does Kristin blithely spin a web of deceit, showing a total disrespect for any individuals involved, including the Court and especially, harming her own children?

I have to wonder if the Charleston Family Court will take any action against her poisonous actions, or will they continue to give her a pass?

Where Do Things Stand with My Federal Indictment?

My attorneys have filed a motion for continuance, which the government consented. Judge David C. Norton, United States District Judge of the US District Court for the District of South Carolina issued an order granting motion for continuance. I am cooperating with the government while we are continuing to discuss and negotiate the outcome of my case.

I will always maintain my innocence.

My attorneys and I will fight the allegations tooth and nail. We are ready to go all the way to trial with this. I’ll keep you informed with any new developments.

Amir Golestan and Ford in Maldives

Please scroll down to the comments below and share your point of view on this situation. And again, thanks so much for your enthusiastic support! I don’t know how I could have made through all this without the love and support of my family and friends. This is the first step in our creating community around Helping Every Loving Parent (HELP) to spend time with their children. Every story is important.

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Written by Amir Golestan

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