Lasik surgeon on trial for alleged murder-for-hire plot

There is no doubt Mockovak paid for a murder. The whole thing was caught on video. The tape was played before the jury during opening statements Tuesday morning. The video is from a pocket camera supplied to an informant hired by the FBI. The prosecutor says it's enough to show murderous intent./

http://www.komonews.com
January 18, 2011

Lasik surgeon on trial for alleged murder-for-hire plot
Bryan Johnson

Michael_Mockovak_Lasik.jpg

Michael Mockovak is seen in court on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011.

SEATTLE — A prominent eye surgeon is on trial, accused of trying to hire a Russian hit man to kill his business partner.

But the attorney for Dr. Michael Mockovak says he is the victim of a setup by the FBI.

There is no doubt Mockovak paid for a murder. The whole thing was caught on video.

The tape was played before the jury during opening statements Tuesday morning. The video is from a pocket camera supplied to an informant hired by the FBI. The prosecutor says it's enough to show murderous intent.

"He's counting the stack of $100 bills the defendant has just given him," said King County Deputy Prosecutor Mary Barbosa.

Allegedly, the bills added up to $10,000 in down payment on a plan to kill Dr. Joseph King.

"And the mastermind of that plan was Dr. King's business partner, the defendant Dr. Michael Mockovak," said Barbosa.

Mockovak says he is the victim of entrapment, a government set up. Both sides say the star witness will be Mockovak.

You see, the hit man wasn't real.

"He wasn't hiring a real hit-man at all; he was hiring an FBI informant named Daniel Kultin, who was wearing a body wire," said the prosecutor.

Kultin handled information technology at Clearly Lasik, a Russian who joked that one of his friends was close to a real alleged Russian hit man Sergei Mikhailov.

Mockovak reportedly was fascinated by the Russian mafia and reportedly asked do you have friends who can take care of a problem.

"It started out as a joke. It ended up as a crime," said defense attorney Colette Tvedt.

The defense says it was Kultin who talked about ways to kill.

"So when you are asking yourself who was the originator of the plot, listen carefully to who was giving the instructions about who, what, when, where, how and why," said Tvedt.

But the prosecutor says the video sews up the case — the counting and the arrangement to pay the rest by credit card:

You are going to be the first person to ever charge murder on a card," a voice is heard stating on the surveillance tape.

The bottom line in the case is not, however, was whether money was paid. It's whether the jury will believe the FBI and a paid confidential informant talked Mockovak into doing something he otherwise would not have done, or if the audio and video show a man who had a plan for murder all along.

If convicted, Mockovak faces up to 20 years in prison.

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/114174614.html


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Risks: Breach of duty, Greed, Murder, Professional hit, Russian mafia, Solicitation to commit first-degree murder, United States, 20110118 Lasik surgeon

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