Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Lawyers tangle over Posada Carriles' gift to journalist

Gift from anti-Castro militant to journalist

Luis Posada Carriles gave journalist Ann Louise Bardach a 33-by-27-inch painting in 1998. His dedication reads:
To my friend Ana, who understands our cause for a free Cuba. Luis Posada. 8 June 1998.
On Jan. 10, the U.S. government served a subpoena on Bardach:
requiring her to produce, among other things, “physical objects given to you by Mr. Posada.” The subpoena does not specifically identify the painting as an object that she is required to produce, but counsel for the United States, Timothy J. Reardon, III, has advised counsel for Ms. Bardach that his intention in issuing the subpoena was to require her to bring the painting to trial.
Bardach's lawyer, Thomas Julin, wrote on Wednesday that Bardach ought to be able to submit photos of the painting so that she does not have to transport it from her home in California to the courtroom in El Paso, Texas. Julin's motion read:
Mr. Reardon refused to agree that photographs of the painting could be produced in lieu of the painting or substituted in the record for the painting if the painting were offered in evidence. He has indicated that he wants the painting placed in the evidentiary record and maintained in evidence until the conclusion of the case.
Ms. Bardach can testify that the attached photographs accurately depict the painting and the photographs may be enlarged to demonstrate the actual size of the painting to the jury. The framed painting is 33 inches by 27 inches or approximately six square feet. The photographs of the painting depict both sides of the painting prior to its being framed, including the dedication on the reverse side of the painting. The dedication is now partially obscured by the frame, so the photographs provide a clearer and better depiction of the painting than the framed painting itself.
Requiring Ms. Bardach to transport the painting from Santa Barbara, California, to El Paso, is unreasonable and oppressive because
  • the painting is irrelevant to any material issues in this case
  • the photographs provide an adequate substitute for the painting
  • transportation of the painting creates a significant risk that it will be damaged or lost
  • introduction of the painting into evidence and maintenance of it in the record in this case would deprive Ms. Bardach of her personal property for a substantial period of time in the absence of any justification for doing so.

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