Monday, December 14, 2009

"The defendant here isn't exactly Tinker Bell."

That was Judge Turnoff today in presiding over the bond hearing for Robert Antoine, a former Haitian government official charged in a telecom bribery scheme involving Haiti's state-owned telecommunications company. Judge Turnoff set a 10% bond at $1 million, meaning that Antoine will have to post $100,000 with the court. He'll get that back with interest if he sees the case through. Here's the Herald article. A snippet:

Federal prosecutors argued that Antoine was a flight risk and wanted him detained. ``He is the primary mover and shaker who made this all happen,'' U.S. Attorney Kimberly Selmore said in court. ``Without him, this couldn't be done.''
Selmore argued it was Antoine who was responsible for the contracts that allowed Esquenazi and Rodriguez to allegedly defraud Haiti Teleco. Antoine was joined by 19 family and friends in court Monday, and family members say they will come up with the money. Another hearing is scheduled to determined if the money is clean.
Antoine's attorney Dennis Kainen argued that his client should be allowed to post bail to fight the charges from behind bars. He said even before his extradition he had intended to fly to Miami from Haiti on Sunday.
"His ties to the community are overwhelming,'' said Kainen, noting that Antoine has been living in South Florida since 1969.

In other news, Curt Anderson covers the civil case against Chuckie Taylor:

Five Africans who claim they were tortured and abused in Liberia when former President Charles Taylor ruled will come to a Miami courtroom next week seeking millions of dollars from the man they say ordered the atrocities: Taylor's son, Charles McArthur Emmanuel.
Emmanuel, also known as Charles ``Chuckie'' Taylor Jr., was convicted in federal court in Miami last year of violating U.S. anti-torture laws as a high-level enforcer for his father. He is serving a 97-year prison sentence.
The five Liberian victims filed a lawsuit against him earlier this year, winning a default judgment in May that leaves only the question of damages for a trial that begins Monday.

Emmanuel, 32, did not initially contest the lawsuit but will appear in court and apparently act as his own lawyer in the bench trial next week before U.S. District Judge Adalberto Jordan. He has already been transferred from a federal prison in Marion, Ill., to Miami's downtown detention center, and has filed several handwritten motions.
In one of them, he asks an attorney for the Liberians for details about the victims and their case, but says it is doubtful that he will take the witness stand next week.
``I will not be testifying in the December proceeding,'' Emmanuel wrote. ``That could change based upon the information requested.''

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