Photo credit: Teresita Chavarria, AFP
Prosecutors say Luis Posada Carriles "unlawfully and knowingly" lied to immigration officers in 2006. But a court document filed today shows that defense lawyers may try to portray the 81-year-old as simply "confused or suffering from a faulty memory."
Posada Carriles' trial is scheduled to start March 1 in El Paso. Authorities accuse the accused bomber of perjury, naturalization fraud and other crimes.
Defense lawyers today asked U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone to admit evidence of Posada Carriles' prior relationship with the CIA. That's important, they say, because it would allow them to explain that Posada Carriles has "used several passports and identifications with different names from different countries...with the blessing and at the behest of the CIA."
Indeed, the lawyers say, Posada Carriles freely admitted to immigration officers that his aliases included the names Ramon Medina and Franco Rodriguez. And if he didn't mention he had also used a Guatemalan passport in the name of Manuel Enrique Castillo Lopez, it was because he was confused or forgot about it.
As this defense argument goes, Posada Carriles may have committed certain acts, but he didn't have a "guilty mind."
His lawyers say testimony about his CIA connections will establish his "state of mind" and allow the jury to hear evidence of his routine use of false names.
Prosecutors say such testimony is irrelevant to the case. According to a document filed Jan. 10:
...as the defendant's relationship with the CIA terminated more than 30 years prior to his unlawful entry into the United States, he has no rational basis to assert that he believed that the terminated relationship afforded him a carte blanche to violate the law during his naturalization proceedings.
The defendant has not yet proffered evidence that, following his termination as a CIA asset, he was ever given authority to enter the United States illegally or to make false statements in his naturalization proceedings, and, of course, we are aware of none.
Finally, the defendant may seek to claim that the latitude he may once have possessed, via his relationship with the CIA, to employ false immigration documents for the purpose of entering or leaving the United States or other nations confused him into believing that, on the occasions alleged in the indictment, it was likewise permissible to do so.
This tactic would be meritless.
Link:Declassified documents dated October 1976 linked Luis Posada Carriles to the bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 people that same month.
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