Lawyers representing alleged wine fraudster Rudy Kurniawan are due in court to argue for him to be examined by psychiatrists.
Reports over the last few days have suggested that the request might open an avenue for Kurniawan to plead insanity in his upcoming trial in New York next month, or could delay the start of the trial.
When contacted by decanter.com, Kurniawan’s lawyer, Vincent S Verdiramo, confirmed that ‘we have asked to have him examined’. Although he said two psychiatrists would do the examination, he declined to give a specific reason for the request.
Verdiramo is due in the US District Court, Southern District of New York, on 12 November to argue for the examination to go ahead.
‘We want it to happen as soon as possible,’ he said. ‘We’re not looking for a delay [to the trial]. He’s already been held without bail for 18 months.’
Kurniawan’s indictment in May last year sent shockwaves through the fine wine world. Known as ‘Dr Conti’ for his in-depth knowledge of Domaine de la Romanee Conti (DRC), he was indicted on charges of selling counterfeit fine wine, as well as mail and wire fraud.
Laurent Ponsot is set to join DRC co-owner Aubert de Villaine and Domaine Georges Roumier’s head winemaker, Christophe Roumier, to testify against Kurniawan at the trial.
Written by Chris Mercer