Murder Solicitation Charges Dismissed

Charges against a Canoga Park insurance agent accused of soliciting the murder of a client were dropped after the "star witness" in the case confessed that he had committed perjury, authorities said Wednesday.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Judith C. Chirlin on Tuesday dismissed the murder solicitation charge against Esmail Shokri, 34, at the request of Deputy Dist. Atty. John C. Spence.

Shokri was accused of soliciting the murder of Iranian national Farhang Goudarzi, 38, of Woodland Hills, who twice in January, 1988, had cars he was driving damaged by bombs. Shokri was accused of offering Afshin Rahmani, 23, of Encino a cut of an insurance policy on Goudarzi if Rahmani killed him.

Rahmani contacted authorities in March, 1988, and agreed to cooperate, later testifying against Shokri during a preliminary hearing in August. But Spence said that earlier this year, Rahmani went to the office of Shokri's attorney and admitted during a taped interview that he had lied during the investigation.

Although Rahmani later claimed that he had not committed perjury, "his entire credibility is highly suspect," Spence said. "We did not feel we had a provable case with him."

Spence said his office is considering filing a perjury charge against Rahmani, who Monday faces sentencing on an auto theft conviction in Van Nuys earlier this year.

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