SANTA ANA – Federal prosecutors said today they will retry a former congressional candidate on obstruction of justice charges for alleging thwarting an investigation into a campaign letter sent to 14,000 immigrant voters, warning they could be prosecuted if they cast ballots.
A mistrial was declared Aug. 27 when a jury failed to reach a verdict in the first trial of Tan Duc Nguyen, who has twice failed to unseat Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Garden Grove.
A new trial date on the two obstruction of justice counts against Nguyen is set for Nov. 30, Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Staples said.
The jury in the August trial deadlocked 9-3 in favor of conviction on the count involving the government’s allegation that Nguyen tried to persuade campaign assistant Chi Dinh to take the blame, and 11-1 in favor of conviction on the charge of lying to state investigators.
Nguyen, a Republican, could face a maximum 40-year prison sentence if convicted.
The letter ignited a firestorm of media coverage and criticism after it was released in October 2006. The state Attorney General’s Office initially investigated Nguyen but did not file charges, and federal prosecutors picked up the case, alleging Nguyen lied to the state investigators.