Defendants appealed their conviction for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, conspiracy to commit money laundering and possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking. Defendant Maria De La Cruz Nava challenged the sufficiency of the evidence supporting her conviction, while defendant Juan Guzman challenged the district court’s refusal to allow witnesses residing in Mexico to testify via videoconferencing and the admission of evidence of an unrelated assault with a firearm.
Where the record was unclear as to whether the district court applied the correct standard in denying La Cruz-Nava’s motion for a new trial on her drug trafficking conspiracy and firearms counts, the court vacated the conviction and remanded for reconsideration of her motion, and the court reversed her conviction for money laundering due to insufficient evidence. However, the district court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to allow Guzman’s alibi witnesses to testify via videoconference.
Judgment is affirmed in part and reversed in part.
U.S. v. La Cruz-Nava (MLW No. 80488/Case Nos. 22-2914 & 22-2966 – 12 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, Erickson, J.) Appealed from U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri.