A federal judge last week dismissed all charges against retired Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless for his alleged role in the West Pacific web of bribery and graft that has come to be known as the “Fat Leonard” scandal.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California Judge Janis Sammartino’s dismissal of all charges against Loveless on Thursday caps a legal saga that has spanned more than five years since the retired flag officer and several other Navy officers were indicted in 2017.
The move came after Loveless’ four-month trial ended in a hung jury this summer.
“We are thrilled that, after years of fighting these charges, Rear Admiral Loveless has been completely vindicated,” Tom O’Brien, one of Loveless’ attorneys, said in a statement Tuesday. “Bruce is very grateful for the unwavering support he has always received from his shipmates, classmates from the U.S. Naval Academy, and those who served with him in the intelligence community.”
Loveless and several co-defendants were charged with bribery, making false statements and obstruction of justice charges, among others, in connection to their alleged interactions with “Fat Leonard” Glenn Francis, the Malaysian shipping magnate who himself has pleaded guilty to bilking the Navy out of $35 million in lucrative West Pacific port servicing contracts earlier this century.
Earlier this month, Francis escaped his house detention in San Diego and remains on the lam.
According to O’Brien’s law firm — Ellis George Cipollone O’Brien Annaguey LLP, which represented Loveless along with the firm Paul Hastings LLP — Loveless is the sole “Fat Leonard” defendant to not be convicted out of the 34 defendants charged by the U.S. Justice Department.
The remaining four military members who went to trial with Loveless were convicted in June.
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.