Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Judge: No Cuba trip for prosecutors

A federal judge on Tuesday denied prosecutors' request to travel to depose witnesses in the perjury trial of Cuban exile Luis Posada Carriles.
Prosecutors wanted to take statements from Otto Rene Rodriguez Llerena and Francisco Chavez Abarca, both of whom have accused Posada Carriles of involvement in a string of bombings in Havana in 1997 and 1998.
In a ruling filed today, U.S. District Court Judge Kathleen Cardone wrote:
Upon due consideration, the Court finds that no exceptional circumstances exist nor do the interests of justice require taking these depositions in this case. The government’s request is onerous and untimely as it comes very late in this case...Further, the depositions are to take place in Cuba, a country which has no formal diplomatic relations with the United States, and has previously refused defense counsels’ requests for permission to visit as part of their preparation for this case.
Prosecutors had said they hoped to "take the depositions in the presence of the Court by transmitting the proceeding by video link."
Cardone said she found the request to travel to Cuba unusual, particularly since the Cuban government had not said whether the prosecutors would be granted access to the witnesses, who are in prison.

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