CUMMINGS, Circuit Judge.
A jury found defendant Mohammad Osmani guilty of possessing heroin with intent to distribute, 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1), and importing heroin into the United States, 21 U.S.C. § 952(a). Defendant appeals on the ground that inconsistent jury instructions were given regarding defendant's knowledge of the exact nature of the controlled substance he carried in his suitcases. Defendant also asserts that the district court punished him for exercising his constitutional right to trial by refusing to grant a two-level reduction in his offense level for acceptance of responsibility.
Defendant arrived at O'Hare Airport in Chicago, from Amsterdam. A United States Customs Inspector observed that defendant was very nervous. She questioned him and he appeared more nervous. A second inspector interviewed him, noting the same nervousness, including refusal to make eye contact, hard swallowing and sweating. Heroin was found in both suitcases after an extra piece of cardboard was removed from one suitcase, and a piece of rubber was removed from the second suitcase. There were 72 plastic bags containing 2,972 grams of 76% pure heroin; its retail value after being "cut" would be approximately $4,800,000.00.
Defendant was placed under arrest and interviewed by Customs and DEA agents. Defendant told the agents that he was stopping in Chicago for one night and then flying back to Washington, D.C. because he had been unable to get a flight from Amsterdam to any airport near Washington, D.C.
I. Jury Instruction
In reviewing the propriety of jury instructions, we view the instructions as a whole, and determine whether they fairly and adequately communicate the law to the jury. United States v. McNeese, 901 F.2d 585, 607 (7th Cir.1990); United States v. Fournier, 861 F.2d 148, 150 (7th Cir.1988). Defendant challenges two jury instructions given over his objection which he argues contradicted each other and may have confused the jury. The pattern instruction said the government had to prove that defendant "knowingly or intentionally possessed heroin," and knew it was a controlled substance.
We find that the jury instructions treated the issues fairly and adequately. This is not a case where a variance existed between the charge (possession of heroin) and the evidence at trial (e.g., possession of baking soda). Instead, the defense theory was that defendant did not know he was carrying any controlled substance—not that he thought he was carrying marijuana and it turned out to be heroin. Defendant can hardly complain about the pattern jury instruction since it is more favorable to him than the law. Standing alone it would require acquittal if defendant established that he believed his suitcases were filled with cocaine and it turned out they contained only heroin. The additional jury instruction clarified that the government need only prove that he possessed some controlled substance.
We note, however, that the Ninth Circuit pattern jury instruction on this issue is clearer, and may be helpful for the Seventh Circuit's Committee on Federal Criminal Jury Instructions to review the Ninth Circuit instruction.
II. Acceptance of Responsibility
Defendant next argues that the district court erred when it refused to grant a two-point reduction for acceptance of responsibility under United States Sentencing Guidelines (U.S.S.G.) § 3E1.1. The presentence investigation report (PSI) recommended that defendant receive the two-level reduction. The district court disagreed with this recommendation, noting defendant was not timely in his admission. Defendant lied to the customs officers and failed to counter-mand those lies in a timely manner. "[H]e allowed that tale that he told to the officers to be repeated and repeated in his own defense, with the hope that somehow, although erroneous, and although he knew it was erroneous, it would be accepted by the jury, and he'd be acquitted." The court added that defendant "allowed his lawyer to vigorously argue [the false story], knowing his lawyer was not arguing the truth * * *, using the lawyer, basically, as a tool."
The question of whether a defendant has accepted responsibility is factual and will be overturned only if clearly erroneous. United States v. Yanez, 985 F.2d 371 (7th Cir.1993). The defendant bears the burden of demonstrating that he is entitled to a reduction for acceptance of responsibility. United States v. Guadagno, 970 F.2d 214, 223 (7th Cir.1992).
The Guidelines permit a two-level reduction for acceptance of responsibility. U.S.S.G. § 3E1.1(b). Going to trial does not automatically mean no reduction for acceptance of responsibility is possible. "To punish a person because he has done what the law plainly allows him to do is a due process violation of the most basic sort." Bordenkircher v. Hayes, 434 U.S. 357, 363, 98 S.Ct. 663, 668, 54 L.Ed.2d 604 (1978). Thus a sentencing judge may not impose a harsher sentence on a defendant who chooses to exercise his constitutional right to trial rather than to plead guilty. Alabama v. Smith, 490 U.S. 794, 109 S.Ct. 2201, 104 L.Ed.2d 865 (1989). The Guidelines commentary adds the following:
Defendant's pre-trial statements and conduct and the particular type of defense he presented refute his later attempt to accept responsibility for his criminal behavior. When stopped at the airport, defendant repeatedly
At trial, defendant continued the sham. While he did not testify, cross-examination by defense counsel clearly sought to attack the "essential factual elements of guilt." United States v. Agrell, 965 F.2d 222, 228 (7th Cir.1992). For example, defense counsel brought out on cross-examination of an FBI agent that none of defendant's fingerprints were found on the bags of heroin. He brought out on cross-examination of a DEA agent that drug dealers sometimes use an "unknowing courier," i.e., a person who does not realize his luggage is being used to transport drugs, or a person who does not know what he is carrying. In closing argument, defense counsel argued that defendant was simply a man traveling around visiting family for several months, a refugee from Afghanistan; that he was an "unknowing courier" duped by a distant relative; that his luggage was stolen; that his cousin lent him suitcases; and that he acted nervous at the airport only because he had some jewelry that customs might think he had failed to declare. Even defendant's statements to the probation officer continued to hedge. He still blamed his cousin for tricking him, and insisted that he had no idea there was such a large quantity of heroin in his suitcases.
No clear error occurred. See United States v. Guadagno, supra, (post-trial admission of guilt to probation officer during presentence investigation interview was untimely); United States v. Leiva, 959 F.2d 637, 644 (7th Cir.1992) (same; defendant was "motivated more by [his] concern to improve his potential disposition than by true remorse"), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 113 S.Ct. 2372, 124 L.Ed.2d 277 (1993); United States v. Blas, 947 F.2d 1320, 1329-30 (7th Cir.1991) (same; "last-minute desperation attempt to accept responsibility" was not a timely manifestation of such acceptance), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 112 S.Ct. 1234, 117 L.Ed.2d 468 (1992).
This is not one of the "rare" instances when a defendant who goes to trial demonstrates that he fully accepted responsibility for his criminal conduct. Cf. United States v. McKinney, 15 F.3d 849 (9th Cir.1994) (holding that district court clearly erred in denying a reduction for acceptance of responsibility where defendant in this "unusual case" confessed immediately after his arrest and showed the police the gun used in the bank robbery; he tried to plead guilty prior to trial, but his attempt was rebuffed; he showed a significant amount of confusion regarding his plea status and sought to discuss it with the court, but the court refused; and at trial, defendant put on a minimal defense).
For these reasons, the decision of the district court is AFFIRMED.