Court Affirms Conviction Of Former VRS Member

US v. Vidacak: Vidacak was convicted on four counts of making false statements in immigration applications. The basis for the charges was Vidacak's failure to disclose/admit that he had been a member of the VRS (Army of the Republika Srpska) during the Bosnian Civil War. Part of the evidence against Vidacak at trial came from military documents and the testimony of two immigration officials to whom the false statements were allegedly made, via interpreters. Vidacak objected to the use of that evidence. He did so again on appeal.

The Fourth Circuit affirmed Vidacak's conviction, concluding that the district court did not abuse its discretion by admitting the challenged evidence. As to the military records, introduced into evidence by an investigator with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at The Hague, the court concluded that they were sufficiently authenticated, even though the witness could not testify to being present when those particular documents were seized. The court also concluded that they were properly admitted as public agency records under FRE 803(8). As to the witness testimony, the court rejected Vidacak's argument that they could not testify unless they interpreters who translated at the interviews were present for cross examination.