Thursday, December 12, 2013

Ex-hijacker moved to Fort Lauderdale

William Potts. Photo: Broward Sheriff's Office
William Potts, the former hijacker who turned himself in to American authorities in November, was moved this week from a federal prison in Miami to the eight-story Broward County Jail in Fort Lauderdale.
His lawyer, Robert N. Berube, along with the prosecutor, filed an unopposed motion on Dec. 10 to delay the trial for 45 days.
Court records show the trial had been set for Dec. 30. The Dec. 10 motion contradicts that, noting the date as Dec. 16.
Whatever the case, the motion states:
In all likelihood this case will be resolved without the necessity of a jury trial, however obtaining the potential discovery material in this case is complicated.
As a result of Defendant William Potts’ lengthly incarceration in Cuba, the United States State Department may be in possession of numerous documents that undersigned counsel may be entitled to review.
Obtaining the documents from the United States State Department is a time consuming process, however the process has begun. It is unlikely that a second continuance would be requested.
Officials moved Potts to Fort Lauderdale because the U.S. District Court where he would be tried is located there.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Hijacker-Hannah Mystery

Daryl Hannah in "Blade Runner"
Robert "Casey" Richter "wanted to live in a socialist paradise," so he climbed aboard a Boeing 737 in Tampa on July 7, 1983, and said he'd blow up the plane if the pilot didn't fly to Cuba.
Richter, then a 26-year-old unemployed computer programer, carried a phony bomb - an Old Spice bottle equipped with a fake fuse - and a note that read, "Viva la Revolución."
"His timing was not good," said his brother, Kelly Richter. "The day before the hijacking, Fidel Castro had said, 'The next guy who hijacks a plane will get 50 years.'"
Donald Hannah
Cuban authorities arrested Casey Richter and slapped him with a 20-year sentence. But he was freed after just four years, then returned to the U.S., where he served less than five years' jail time.
Kelly Richter, 60, said he doesn't know for sure how his brother managed to get out of the Cuban prison before his sentence was completed. He said his father, John Richter, traveled to Cuba five or six times seeking his son's release. On one trip, he met Donald Christian Hannah, an American businessman.
Hannah, the father of actress Daryl Hannah, was acquainted with then-President Fidel Castro. John Richter asked Hannah to appeal to Castro for his son's release. As the story goes, Castro was a fan of Daryl Hannah and said he'd consider letting Richter go free if the actress showed up at an international film festival the following year.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Visas for Christmas: Cuba resumes consular services

Cuban Interests Section
From the Cuban Interests Section:
On December 6, 2013, M & T Bank informed the Cuban Interests Section about its decision to extend the deadline for permanently closing the accounts of the Cuban missions in the United States until March 1st, 2014, specifying that it will continue receiving deposits from consular services until February 17, 2014.

The Cuban Interests Section would like to inform that consular services will be immediately resumed on a temporary basis up to February 17, 2014.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Exclusive: Ex-hijacker worries about fate

William Potts
Former hijacker William Potts spent 13 years in a Cuban prison for hijacking a plane to the island in 1984. He said he was stunned to learn he might have to spend two more decades in prison for the crime.
“I almost fainted,” Potts told Along the Malecón in his first media interview since turning himself in to U.S. authorities on Nov. 6. “It really rocked me.”