Today the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas dismissed a denaturalization case against our client. The order is here: U.S. v. Malik – Order Denying Denaturalization
The court conducted a two-day bench trial in October, 2018 and we were eagerly awaiting this decision. The government filed its Complaint in 2015 alleging our client had never gotten divorced in Pakistan, even though he had a divorce decree and other records proving his divorce. Discovery involved eleven depositions (four of witnesses in Pakistan) and two separate investigations into the divorce decree itself. After the close of discovery the government was sanctioned for not turning over relevant evidence about the outcome of its investigation.
Today the court concluded the government hadn’t met its burden to prove what it had alleged in its Complaint: that the defendant hadn’t gotten divorced in Pakistan. In doing so, the court noted two “expert” witnesses the government brought to Kansas to testify that the documents were forgeries were unpersuasive and that neither was actually an expert.
The court described the first expert’s testimony “about the age and authenticity” of the divorce documents to be “unpersuasive” because he “did not have extensive experience at the time he evaluated the documents and did not offer sufficient reasoning for his conclusions” and, more importantly, “did not consider key evidence in reaching his conclusions, such as how and where the documents were stored.”
Regarding the second “expert” who claimed to have determined certain re-marriage documents to be forged, the court described his testimony as “not persuasive on any relevant matters” and noted he “did not have substantial experience at the time he worked in Pakistan,” and did not “speak or read Urdu,” the language all the documents were written in. And the court noted he was unfamiliar with Pakistani law even though that’s largely what his testimony was about. The court concluded his testimony was inconsistent and declined to conclude that the documents were forged.
Finally, the court concluded that statements the government characterized as false hadn’t been “material” to the defendant’s naturalization eligibility. Because that was the basis for denaturalizing him, the court dismissed the suit. Our client remains a U.S. citizen.