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"This is very stressful to me," Nguyen says. "I believe in this country and that you work for what you get. This is the lesson I always tell my two boys: Work hard, don't take government handouts, and you will succeed here."
The entire case against him is based on a demonstrably false assumption, Nguyen says. "If I were a pirate selling access codes, wouldn't I be making money from it?" he asked. "Where's the money? They can't find any because there isn't any."
Nguyen has confidence in juries. In 2001, police arrested him on six felony counts of grand theft. If he had been convicted, he likely would have landed in a California prison. But an Orange County jury found him not guilty of every charge in what turned out to be nothing more than a dispute with a bitter, ex-business partner.
"I tried to tell the prosecutor I wasn't guilty, but he didn't listen," he recalls. "He kept coming after me."
In his current legal mess, Nguyen says, he told Dish Network lawyers they are destroying an innocent man's life. "They don't care," he says, sighing heavily. "They said I am stealing their satellite signal."
Even if he's on the wrong side of Selna, Nguyen believes a future federal jury will be fair.
"They will see this is Goliath against the little guy," he says. "And I hope they will let me get on with my life."
This column appeared in print as "Dishing It Out: Dish Network and a federal judge heatedly pursue a Little Saigon man for alleged satellite-broadcasting piracy."