Diana Alba Soular for the Las Cruces Sun News:
State prosecutors on Monday dropped 18 criminal charges against the CEO of a space technology company based in Doña Ana County
ARCA Space Corporation CEO Dumitru Popescu had been facing a series of fraud, securities fraud and embezzlement charges.
But Monday, Benjamin Schrope, special assistant district attorney with the state securities division, filed a brief notice in 3rd Judicial District Court in Las Cruces to dismiss the case.
That happened after a state grand jury heard last week declined to indict Popescu after hearing 14 hours of testimony in two separate sessions.
And the craziest bit about the grand jury hearing:
While presenting to the grand jury, Popescu represented himself legally. He said he "fired" his most-recent attorney about three weeks ago after he was dissatisfied with the legal representation he was receiving.
A few weeks ago, I was wondering where the whole ARCA situation had gotten to, and fell down quite a rabbit hole starting with this 12-minute monologue video in which Popescu details his side of the story.
The story is so complex that I had never spent too much time trying to work through the details, but this lay-it-all-out video (and the long ones that follow) opened my mind to the fact that Popescu might really be telling the truth here—that this situation was some sort of an attempted coup with some very suspect governmental involvement.
Honestly, I still have no idea what to make of it, but Popescu defended himself in front of a grand jury for 14 hours and they agreed with his case. Let’s see where ARCA goes from here:
At the time the charges were filed last fall, ARCA had been about two weeks from launching a test rocket from Spaceport America, according to Popescu. The criminal case stalled progress. Now, the company plans to carry out the rocket test in Europe. After that, it's likely the company will launch a test of a second rocket system from NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
Count me in for a trip to Wallops to see that flight, if it happens.