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Wine Spectator: Will Accused Wine Counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan Plead Insanity?

November 11, 2013

Is Rudy Kurniawan planning to plead insanity? His lawyers have requested permission for a psychiatric examination of the accused wine counterfeiter, currently being held in a Brooklyn detention center. A Nov. 7 request by co-counsel Vincent Verdiramo, in a letter to presiding judge Richard Berman, comes just 32 days before Kurniawan’s trial is scheduled to begin in a Lower Manhattan federal courtroom.

The request did not sit well with the prosecution. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Hernandez asked the judge for an “immediate status conference to address defense counsel’s application.” The defense request, according to Hernandez, suggests that Kurniawan, 37, “may seek to raise a defense of insanity or claim that he is not competent to stand trial.” The conference is expected to take place Nov. 12.

Kurniawan was arrested by the FBI at his home in Arcadia, Calif., in March 2012 and has spent the past 18 months awaiting trial. The two-count indictment charges him with mail fraud in a scheme to sell counterfeit wines and defrauding a finance company. For the full story in Wine Spectator, click here.

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