United States v. Zeaiter, No. 16-4066 (8th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
Defendants challenged their sentences after being convicted of various crimes related to their involvement in a scheme to purchase and ship firearms to Lebanon for resale. The Eighth Circuit held that the district court did not clearly err in determining that Defendant Ali was an organizer or leader of the conspiracy and by imposing a ten-level sentencing enhancement after finding that his offense conduct involved 200 or more firearms; the district court did not clearly err in denying acceptance of responsibility to Ali in light of his attempt to minimize his conduct and his frivolous objections to his relevant conduct; and Ali's sentence was substantively reasonable. The court held that the district court did not err by imposing a three-level sentence enhancement based on Defendant Bassem's role as a manager or supervisor or by finding that the conspiracy was otherwise extensive; the district court did not err in denying Bassem's motion to hold a hearing and in refusing to compel the government to file a substantial assistance motion; and Bassem's sentence was substantively reasonable. Finally, the court held that the district court did not err in denying Defendant Zeaiter a three-level mitigating role adjustment and the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying her a downward variance.