At 4:46 am on January 16, 2016, the firm’s client, Khosrow Afghahi, was released from the Federal Detention Center in Houston, Texas—one of seven Iranian-Americans freed in U.S.-Iran nuclear and prisoner negotiations announced just the day before. Mr. Afghahi received a full Presidential pardon.
The case began nine months earlier when the client was accused in Houston federal court of the crime of making and selling goods in Iran—in his case, surge protectors similar to those sold at an office supply store. The business had existed since before the 1978 Revolution, but the client had become a U.S. citizen only more recently, to visit family more often. Discovery was impaired because (1) he was detained in jail pending trial, and (2) it is terribly difficult to get materials located in Iran. However, it became clear that the client might soon be included in a rumored “prisoner swap.” On the night of Friday, January 15th, the firm was told to appear at the warden’s office at 5:30 am on Saturday when a pardon and swap would quickly occur. Every 30 minutes, the warden received a message that they were “close...except for one more glitch.” Twenty-three hours later, it finally took place, and the firm’s client was happily reunited with his wife and son.