US jury finds Navy SEAL guilty in weapons case

US jury finds Navy SEAL guilty in weapons case

The jury returned the verdict in US District Court after about 10 hours considering the fate of Petty Officer Nicholas Bickle.

Prosecutors say federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents bought weapons during an undercover operation that led to raids last November at Bickle's apartment and a storage unit he leased near San Diego, in Las Vegas where two other convicted co-defendants live, and at the Durango, Colorado, home of a man who pleaded guilty in the case.

Authorities say 72 weapons were seized including more than two dozen AK-47 and M92 machine guns, a sniper rifle and handguns.

Bickle's lawyer, James Pokorny, maintained the government never proved a link between the 34-year-old Bickle and the weapons.

He told the jury the government case relied on flimsy circumstantial evidence and the testimony of drug dealers and convicts who pleaded guilty and tailored accounts of Bickle's involvement in hopes that they'll be spared prison time.

Andrew Kaufman, 37, pleaded guilty in December to conspiracy and illegal transfer of a machine gun charges, while Omar Aguirre, 36, of Las Vegas, pleaded guilty in December to conspiracy.

A close Bickle friend, Richard Paul, 35, pleaded guilty in January to conspiracy and explosives transport charges. All three men will be sentenced later this month.

Bickle, who had a role in the 2011 movie "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," did not testify during the 2½ week-trial. He faces decades of prison at sentencing January 20.

US District Court Judge Roger Hunt allowed him to remain free until that time.

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