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New twist in Dawn Nguyen case

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- No plea agreement was reached and proceedings were adjourned for 10 days in federal court Friday for Dawn Nguyen, the woman convicted at the state level of supplying the firearms used to fatally shoot two West Webster firefighters on Christmas Eve in 2012.

The delay stems from an internal policy known as the Petite Policy of the Department of Justice that establishes guidelines for determining whether or not to bring a federal case against someone charged with the same acts in a prior state proceeding.

Nguyen was sentenced Monday in State Supreme Court to 16 months to four years in state prison for lying on a form to buy the shotgun and semiautomatic rifle that were used to kill firefighters Tomasz Kaczowka and Michael Chiapperini.

The federal complaint, filed just four days after the 2012 ambush, alleges that Nguyen falsified information on a federal form and provided guns to a convicted felon.

Just minutes before entering the federal courtroom Friday, Nguyens attorney John Parrinello sent an email to federal prosecutors and Judge David Larimer that expressed concern that the federal and state charges against his client were too similar. He said the states conviction should satisfy all interest the federal government should have in prosecuting Nguyen, in accordance with their own internal policy.

The issue was: at the time of the purchase of the gun, when she answered the question, whether or not she answered it falsely. Thats been resolved; and thats the mainstay of the federal indictment, Parrinello said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Noto, the federal prosecutor handling the case, said her office is complying with the petite policy with the support of an assistant U.S. attorney general. 

Noto said the government does have an interest in convicting Nguyen on federal charges because it was a federal form Nguyen lied on.

Were very disappointed today that the case was not resolved. The victims in this case deserve closure of this last piece, Noto said. Im disappointed about the suggestion that there isnt a strong federal interest here.

Neither side agreed on the terms of a plea deal. The plea agreement would have allowed Nguyen to plead guilty to all three counts of the indictment, while reserving the right of both sides to argue for the sentence they felt was most fair.

But, the defense also sought to retain Nguyens right to withdraw her plea if the judge decided to impose a sentence that would run consecutively to her state sentence rather than concurrent to ita condition to which the prosecution would not concede.

A plea is expected to be reached after discussions about the petite policy and any additional issues are resolved.


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