Friday, June 5, 2009

Posada Carriles' lawyers want more time to raise money and possibly travel to Cuba

The Luis Posada Carriles trial had been set for August, but now it's been pushed to at least October. Prosecutors say they don't object as long as the trial doesn't drag into 2010, documents filed this week show.
Sorting through all the discovery material - and agreeing how to handle its public disclosure - is bogging things down.
Prosecutors want to keep some of the material secret and sought a judge's order to ensure that the certain documents would be protected. Links to new court documents are below.

Luis Posada Carriles. Photo credit: Héctor Gabino/El Nuevo Herald

The defense has requested government documents that they say they need to defend Posada Carriles. Judge Kathleen Cardone ordered the government to divide the material into two categories: 1) general discovery materials and 2) particularly sensitive discovery materials.
The defense won't be allowed to distribute “particularly sensitive discovery materials” to anyone who isn't involved in the case. A court order says these sensitive documents:
...are to be provided to the defense, and used by the defense, solely for the purpose of allowing the defendant to prepare his defense...none of the discovery materials produced by the government to the defense shall be disseminated to the media...
Discovery materials will include six hours of tapes from journalist Ann Louise Bardach's interview with Posada Carriles. The defense says it won't try to prevent the tapes from being disclosed.

A bomb exploded in the lobby of the Hotel Copacabana on Sept. 4, 1997, killing an Italian man
One reason defense lawyers say they want more time before trial is that they may want to travel to Cuba to interview Raul Cruz Leon, accused in the September 1997 Hotel Copacabana bombing. Defense lawyers say:
...it may be necessary for defense counsel to travel to Cuba for the purpose of inspecting original records, interview of witnesses and inspection of crime scene.
Defense lawyers also want more time so they can conduct fundraisers in South Florida to pay "the expected high costs of mounting a defense to these charges."
Costs include attorneys fees for three lawyers, travel room and board for lawyers, witnesses, client, limited family members, expert witnesses and investigations. Under the current trial setting defense counsel will not have enough time to generate the needed funds to pay for all of these costs.
The defense asks for the trial to be set for January or February of 2010. Prosecutors say that's too long. They want it to begin by this fall.

An old friend greets Posada Carriles. Photo credit: Héctor Gabino/El Nuevo Herald

Two observations: The defense is evidently trying to milk the case for all it can. The prosecution wants to protect material that may embarrass the U.S. government.

Links to court documents:

Defense motion for continuance of trial
Government response to motion for continuance
Government motion for order to protect sensitive material
Protective order

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