Friday, June 4, 2010

Posada Carriles' lawyers apparently flip-flop on need to travel to Cuba

Source of photo: Merz Antique Firearms. This authentic ‘plunger’ box lists for $995.

Members of the team that is prosecuting Luis Posada Carriles evidently traveled to Cuba in late January in preparation for trial. Prosecutors encouraged Posada Carriles' lawyers to make their own trip to Cuba, too, to examine evidence and speak potential witnesses in connection with the 1997 bombing campaign in Havana, but they refused, according to this court document filed May 28.
Gosh, that's odd because in 2009 Posada Carriles' defense lawyers said one reason they wanted more time before trial was that they may want to travel to Cuba to interview Raul Cruz Leon, accused in the September 1997 Hotel Copacabana bombing. The lawyers said: 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.
And now, at least according to prosecutors, the defense team doesn't want to go to Cuba.
Can you believe anything these lawyers say?
Anyway, prosecutors accuse Posada Carriles of lying about his alleged involvement in the 1997 bombing campaign, which killed an Italian businessman.
In June 1998, FBI agents went to Havana and examined DuPont detonators used in the bombings.
In January 2010, someone working for the Posada Carriles prosecution team traveled to "a foreign nation" - Cuba - and "verified the knowledge and availability of witnesses relevant to establishing the foundation for potential testimony about the explosives and blasting caps described in the reports," according to the May 28 document.
That's interesting. That means that if the Posada Carriles case ever goes to trial, at least one witness from Cuba could testify in the case.
Posada Carriles' lawyers argue that evidence in the 1997 bombings is "irrelevant."
The prosecution responds: "...its relevance is manifest. Among other things, the defendant is accused of making false statements regarding his involvement in a bombing campaign in Cuba. Explosives recovered in the course of that campaign are, of course, relevant to establishing that fact."
Posada Carriles' lawyers ask the prosecution to "produce the blasting caps and explosive samples described" in an FBI report. Prosecutors say the evidence has either been destroyed or is in Cuba. They said:
The blasting caps described in the report have never been in the United States. The explosives provided to and subsequently tested by the United States were only small samples, and we understand that any portions that remained after testing were disposed of as a matter of routine and are no longer in the FBI’s possession. The remainder of the explosives from which the samples were taken would, like the blasting caps, be in the possession of a foreign government.
Prosecutors told Posada Carriles' lawyers how they or the defendant could arrange a trip to Cuba, but they declined to travel. Prosecutors said:
On multiple occasions in connection with the January 2010 visit described above, the United States... informed the defendant of the process by which, if he chooses to do so, he may arrange travel to the foreign country or direct investigative requests to its government.
The United States repeatedly communicated this information to the defense from June 29, 2009 to December 23, 2009. On January 21, 2010, shortly before the scheduled visit, the United States further conveyed its disappointment that the defense had chosen not to take the necessary measures to facilitate its investigation.
The defendant nevertheless chose to refuse to take the steps necessary to travel along with the United States in the January 2010 trip and, as far as the United States is aware, has not otherwise availed himself of the process for requesting investigative assistance. Having so chosen, the defendant’s inability to inspect items not in the possession, custody or control of the United States is again a problem of his own making.

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