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Trial begins for ex-FBI agent accused in robbery plot

February 18, 2009 |  3:06 pm

In opening statements in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana this morning, a prosecutor alleged that a former FBI special agent plotted to rob a Fountain Valley house where he believed $500,000 in cash and drugs were stashed.

Prosecutor Robert Keenan said Vo Duong Tran of New Orleans enlisted his co-defendant, Yu Sung Park of Chicago, in the scheme.

Authorities say they used a hidden microphone worn by an informant to capture the alleged plotting, and the government says a stash of guns and ammunition was found in a hotel room that Tran and Park were using. The men were arrested in July 2008.

Tran's attorney, Alex Kessel, told jurors that even after his client left the FBI in 2003, after nine years as an agent, he longed to be part of law enforcement and that he never intended to rob anyone.

Instead, Kessel said, Tran was trying to gather information on the FBI informant, who he believed was plotting a crime, to present to authorities.

Both Tran and Park could face life in prison if convicted.

-- Christopher Goffard