Philippe seeking assistance to challenge US conviction

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

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PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti (CMC) — Former police commissioner Guy Philippe, who was convicted in a United States court last year on charges that he accepted bribes to protect cocaine smugglers who used Haiti to ship drugs to the United States, is challenging his conviction.

His plea agreement last year allowed him to avoid going to trial on a more serious trafficking charge that could have sent him to prison for the rest of his life.

Philippe, who won a seat in the Haitian Senate, is reported to have filed an appeal against the nine-year jail term imposed on him on June 21, last year by US District Judge Cecilia M Altonaga of the Miami Court, for money laundering and drug trafficking.

Philippe has submitted a motion to vacate his conviction to the South Florida Federal Court.

In a letter sent to Joseph Lambert, the speaker of the Senate, Philippe, who in 2004 sought to overthrow the Government of then President Jean Bertrand Aristide, wrote that he is in need of US$125,000 to mount his legal defence.

Philippe had on February 5 reported to have dismissed his lawyers Zeljka Bozanic and Alan Ross on the basis of incompetence.

In his letter to the Senate, Philippe challenges his conviction saying it remains “unjustified by the American Government”.

“To this end, I appealed against this famous decision; for the emotional dedication of the action, I need one hundred and twenty-five thousand (US$125,000) US dollars for US attorney fees and other fees that the case demands.

“Since I am currently financially unable to pay the above amount, I would urge the Senate of the Republic as a Corps, of which you have the honour to preside, to help me find the above amount for the advancement of my case,” Philippe wrote in his letter to Lambert.

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