More federal charges for Scientology family that sold rhino horn products - 2017-02-25
Last July, we told you about the odd way Scientology had become an issue in a criminal case involving the illegal trafficking of art made of rhino horn, ivory, and coral.
At that time, Joey Chait had been sentenced to a year in federal prison for falsifying sales slips and otherwise aiding in the illegal sale of prohibited items that had been sold through his father Izzy Chait's famous Beverly Hills auction house.
What caught our interest was that Joey Chait's attorney, Judith Germano, had tried to convince the court that Joey had experienced significant abuse growing up in a Scientology family and working in its harsh "Sea Organization" and then for his father, who was really making the decisions about what items to sell. The Chait gallery had been caught selling objects made of rhino horn in a federal sting, but by the time charges could be brought, Izzy Chait had suffered brain damage during a heart attack and was mostly incapacitated. Charges were brought against Joey instead, but his attorney Germano's sentencing memorandum seemed to influence federal Judge J. Paul Oetken, who disregarded prosecutors' request for a 3-year sentence and instead gave Joey twelve months and a day.