WOODSTOCK — A plea deal is expected to be entered in the case against the operator of the Maurertown-based Filibuster Distillery who is accused of dumping over 40,000 gallons of industrial waste into a stream.
Assistant Attorney General Jerald Hess stated during the hearing for Siddharth Dilawri in Shenandoah County Circuit Court on Wednesday that an agreement in principle has been made.
But the deal is complex, Hess said, and he would like to submit the deal to the judge’s chamber by Aug. 1 for feedback before it is formally filed with the court. If there are no issues with the deal, then the case will proceed with a hearing on Nov. 3.
The deal started as a 25-page document, Hess told the court, but has grown from there in complexity.
The deal would involve Dilawri pleading guilty to about 40 of the approximately 120 charges he faces. Dilawri was changed in January with illegally dumping waste from the Filibuster Distillery after a two-year investigation that involved the Shenandoah County Fire Marshal’s Office and the state Department of Environmental Quality. The Attorney General’s office is prosecuting the case because of state statute.
The remaining charges would be deferred for about a year to see if Dilawri is compliant, Hess stated. If he is, then those charges would be resolved in a favorable outcome for him, Hess said.
The deal would also include “big” financial contributions to made within Shenandoah County. Dilawri’s attorney, Rebecca Brodey of Cozen O’Connor law firm, said after the hearing those contributions are still being worked out. The Attorney’s General Office would not provide further details of the deal.
With the preliminary deal, Dilawri has requested 120 days to get his affairs in order, Hess also told the court. As an administrative function, Judge Kevin Black allowed Dilawri to have his passport returned to him at Brodey’s request. Hess stated no objection to that, adding Dilawri has no criminal history and his actions since being charged do not indicate that he’s a flight risk.
Some of the charges against Dilwari are also against his businesses. If the deal works out and the hearing is held, Black said, he would like someone with substantial business ties to the business or a majority of shareholders to enter a corporate resolution for the pleas in the case.
Former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore, who is also from the Cozen O’Connor law firm and representing Dilawri, and Christopher Bergin of the Attorney General’s Office, were not present for Wednesday’s hearing as they have been in the past.
The distillery is still open for business, Dilawri told The Northern Virginia Daily after the hearing. He declined to provide further comment because of the legal proceedings still ongoing.