Superseding indictment increases charges against Lakin

By Steve Gonzalez | Nov 20, 2007

Tom Lakin

A federal grand jury returned a second superseding indictment against Tom Lakin, raising the total number of charges against Lakin from eight to 18.

The new indictment came 14 days after District Judge J. Phil Gilbert allowed Lakin's motion for separate trials, one on drug charges and one on sex charges.

"In this case, there is simply no allegation on the face of the indictment showing that the Mann Act charge and the drug charges are connected to each other or constitute part of a common scheme or plan," Gilbert wrote in his order severing the charges earlier this month.

Prosecuting U.S. Attorney Stephen Clark previously argued that all counts in Lakin's case are "connected with or constitute parts of a common scheme or plan."

Clark also argued that evidence will show Lakin's drug activities are inextricably intertwined with the charged sex crimes in that Lakin allegedly distributed drugs to "Jane Does" to induce them to have sex with a minor identified as John Doe, a boy with whom Lakin allegedly engaged in oral sex and with whom he allegedly transported across state lines in the hopes of having illegal sexual activity while Lakin watched and masturbated.

Clark has submitted transcripts of videotaped witness interviews in support of the government's position that the counts are part of a common scheme or plan.

The new indictment alleges Lakin had engaged in sex with John Doe both before and after taking him to Malibu in May 2005. It alleges that John Doe declined Lakin's requests for oral sex in California but once they returned to East Alton the relationship continued.

The indictment also states that Lakin gave several females cocaine so they would engage in sexual activity with John Doe so Lakin could watch and masturbate after the minor declined further sexual activity with Lakin himself.

The new indictment also seeks forfeiture of Lakin's property at 31610 Broad Beach Road in Malibu.

With the new indictment, Clark hopes to avoid two separate trials.

In his order, Gilbert noted that his decision contrasts with the main purpose of joinder rules which is to promote judicial economy and to avoid costly duplicate trials.

Gilbert also noted that if he were to allow the charges to be tried together that the "errors would likely be harmless," but based on his review he believes that significant evidence to prove the drug charges would also be admissible in a trial of the Mann Act charge, and that evidence relating to the Mann Act charge would be admissible in a trial of the drug charges, he wrote.

"But while harmless error may provide a rationale for affirming a case where claims are misjoined it should not justify a court's misapplication of the law in advance of trial," Gilbert wrote.

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