United States v. Caira, No. 12-2631 (7th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Caira, a published medical researcher, began producing synthetic drugs, including more than 70,000 pills of MDMA (ecstasy). He was indicted and met with U.S. attorneys to discuss a plea bargain. An attorney subsequently contacted the FBI with information that one of her clients (Ruiz) had information about a plot to kill members of the team prosecuting Caira: AUSA Gillers and DEA Agent Bagley. Ruiz told FBI investigators that he had been recruited by Mann to murder the two in exchange for cocaine and lessons on making synthetic drugs. The FBI arrested Mann, who agreed to cooperate. Mann met Caira at a restaurant, wearing a wire. Although the wire malfunctioned, Caira was arrested. Agents seized Caira’s cell phone and found text messages between Caira and Mann. Caira was indicted for conspiracy to commit murder of a U.S. official (18 U.S.C. 1117) and solicitation of a violent felony (18 U.S.C. 373). The government’s case rested primarily on testimony from Mann and Ruiz and the text messages. Caira’s defense was that the plot was Mann’s idea and that Caira never intended that anyone be hurt. He testified at trial. The parties collaborated on jury instructions. The jury found Caira guilty and he was sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting arguments that his Fifth Amendment right not to be compelled to testify against himself was violated and that he was prejudiced by improper jury instructions.