United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
GREGORY A. PRESNELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court after an evidentiary hearing on
the sealed Motion to Suppress (Doc. 37) filed by the
Defendant, Seongchan Yun (“Yun”). In resolving the
instant motion (a redacted version of which was filed at Doc.
27),  the Court has considered the
Government's response (Doc. 43) and supplemental briefs
(Doc. 58, 59) filed by the parties.
2014, STAT Industry, Inc. (“STAT”), a Florida
company, was awarded a contract (the “STAT
Contract”) to supply steel tubing to NASA. STAT in turn
contracted with CBOL Corporation (“CBOL”), a
California company, to provide the tubing. The NASA contract
required that the tubing be of domestic origin.
employed by CBOL Corporation and was assigned as project
manager for the order of the steel tubes. CBOL obtained the
tubing from a company called Specialized Metals and had it
shipped to NASA. Upon its arrival in July 2014, NASA
employees became suspicious that the tubing was not of
domestic origin. A mill certificate accompanying the tubing
(henceforth, the “Jiuli Document”) did not
indicate the tubing's country of origin - the information
had been redacted - but bore the name “Jiuli”.
Jiuli is a Chinese steel manufacturer.
August 2014, NASA began investigating the source of the
tubing. After contacting Specialized Metals, the
investigators were informed that the tubes had been
manufactured in China. In August 2015, in response to a
search warrant, NASA investigators received emails from
accounts belonging to STAT employees. The emails confirmed
that Yun handled the tubing order for CBOL, and that, on June
14, 2014, after Yun suggested using Chinese materials to save
money, he had been informed by a STAT employee that the tubes
had to be domestically produced.
March 30, 2016, NASA investigators travelled to California
and interviewed Yun, who at that point was not employed by
CBOL. The investigators told Yun they were investigating STAT
and did not suggest to him that he was suspected of any
wrongdoing. Among other things, Yun told the investigators
that he did not realize the tubes had to be produced in the
2016, CBOL retained outside counsel to represent it in
NASA's investigation about the STAT
Contract. In December 2016, CBOL's outside
counsel contacted Yun. The two communicated numerous times,
sometimes in person, over the next several months. At the
hearing in this matter, Yun testified that he thought
CBOL's outside counsel was representing him personally in
regard to the STAT Contract matter, and that, as a result, he
revealed confidential information during their conversations.
CBOL's outside counsel shared at least some of this
information with NASA Office of Inspector General Special
Agent William Shores (“Shores”), the
Government's case agent investigating the STAT Contract.
January 2017, Shores requested an interview with Yun, and Yun
agreed to meet him on February 7, 2017. Yun testified that he
expected CBOL's outside counsel to attend the meeting
with him, as his attorney. But the night before that meeting,
Yun testified, CBOL's outside counsel informed him that
he would not attend because he had a “conflict of
interest.” Subsequently, CBOL's outside counsel
texted Yun, encouraging him to meet with the NASA
investigators and to answer their questions “as best
you can, ” adding, “[b]e confident about what you
know and be honest about what you don't know.”
with Shores at a coffee shop the next day. Shores did not
advise Yun that CBOL's outside counsel had been repeating
to the Government the information that he had obtained from
Yun. He also did not inform Yun that he (rather than solely
STAT) was under investigation, and he did not advise Yun of
his right to counsel until the end of the interview.
the course of the interview, Shores elicited several
admissions from Yun that he had not made at the March 30,
2016 interview - most notably, that Yun knew of the
domestic-origin requirement and that he had redacted the
country-of-origin information from the Jiuli Document. At
Shores' direction, Yun memorialized his admissions in a
written statement. After obtaining this statement from Yun,
Shores for the first time informed Yun that CBOL's
outside counsel was representing only CBOL, and that Yun
could be facing criminal charges.
March 13, 2019, Yun was indicted on one count of concealing a
material fact - namely, the foreign origin of the steel tubes
provided to NASA - in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
1001(a)(1) and one count of providing a false document in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(3). On July 29, 2019,
Yun filed the redacted version (Doc. 27) of the instant
motion. Initially, Yun sought to suppress 1) the statements
he made to the Government on February 7, 2017, and 2) all
communications between himself and CBOL's outside
counsel. In response to his motion, the Government notified
Yun that it did not intend to introduce any of the
communications with CBOL's outside counsel. At the
hearing on this motion, counsel for Yun agreed that only the
February 7, 2017 statements remained at issue.
argues that CBOL's outside counsel, acting
“hand-in-hand” with criminal investigators,
deceived him into confessing, and that this deception renders
his confession involuntary and inadmissible. To determine
whether a confession is voluntary, courts must assess the
totality of the circumstances, including both the
characteristics of the accused and the details of the
interrogation. Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, 412 U.S.
218, 226 (1973). The Supreme Court has long held that certain
interrogation techniques, either in isolation or as applied
to the unique characteristics of a particular suspect, are so
offensive to a civilized system of justice that they must be
condemned under the Due Process Clause.See Miller v.
Fenton, 474 U.S. 104, 109 (1985). However, in the case
of a confession, coercive conduct by a law enforcement
officer is a prerequisite for a conclusion that the
confession was not truly voluntary. Colorado v.
Connelly, 479 U.S. 157, 163-64 (1986). And in this case,
Yun has not produced any evidence of such conduct on the part
of Shores or the other agents here. The vast majority of the
acts of which Yun complains were committed by CBOL's
outside counsel. But even if, as Yun testified, CBOL's
outside counsel deceived him into revealing ...