[Marxism] Former FBI Agent Would Testify About Coerced and False "Confessions"

Brian Shannon Brian_Shannon at verizon.net
Tue Mar 21 08:31:48 MST 2006

Prosecutors try to exclude testimony of 30-year veteran
FBI agent whose experience included ABSCAM

By Stephen Magagnini, Sacramento Bee
Tuesday, March 21, 2006

An ex-FBI agent who helped the U.S. government run some of its  
biggest undercover corruption cases is now playing for the other  
side: James J. Wedick is the chief investigator for the defense of  
two Lodi men on trial for terrorism-related charges.

Monday, Wedick was in the eye of the hurricane as federal prosecutors  
battled to keep him from testifying as an expert witness against them.

Wazhma Mojaddidi, attorney for 23-year-old Hamid Hayat, last week  
notified federal prosecutors she planned to have Wedick deconstruct  
the FBI's case against Hamid and his father, Umer, 48, starting with  
interviews in which the defendants apparently confessed.

But during a heated three-hour hearing Monday without the jury, U.S.  
District Judge Garland Burrell Jr. wasn't satisfied with the defense  
team's explanation of what Wedick could potentially testify to.

Burrell considered the prosecution's motion to exclude Wedick  

Burrell ordered the defense to disclose Wedick's expert opinions  
concerning the FBI's interviews and interrogations in this case  
today. Burrell gave the defense until Wednesday to disclose Wedick's  
specific opinions on the FBI's undercover operation and its informant  
Naseem Kahn, who secretly recorded hundreds of hours of interviews  
with Hamid Hayat.

David Deitch, one of three federal prosecutors, accused the defense  
of "sandbagging" the government by not announcing its intention to  
call Wedick as an expert before the trial started Feb. 14.

Mojaddidi and Johnny Griffin III, who is representing Umer Hayat,  
argued that they didn't introduce Wedick as a potential witness  
earlier because the government was still turning over evidence that  
Wedick could comment on.

Mojaddidi, in her March 13 letter to the prosecution supported by  
Griffin, said Wedick will testify the FBI interviews "used a large  
number of leading questions ... rather than open-ended questions"  
that "contaminated the 'confessions' of both the Defendants."

The Hayats later recanted the confessions made to the FBI on  
videotape and are now charged with lying to the FBI about Hamid's  
attendance at an al-Qaida training camp in northern Pakistan. They  
have pleaded not guilty.

Monday, Burrell agreed to release an edited version of the videotaped  
interviews to Oakland television station KTVU and other stations in  
Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Diego.

Burrell ordered the television stations to delete names of others  
mentioned by the Hayats who haven't been charged and blur the faces  
of FBI agents.

The edited version is likely to be submitted to the court for review  
in the "next couple of days," said KTVU's attorney Grace Won.

The most intense exchanges of the day involved Wedick, who the  
defense claimed in court papers could testify that the FBI agents who  
interrogated the Hayats didn't follow FBI policy and procedure  
"concerning interviews and interrogations," including taking into  
account "the defendants' personal vulnerabilities with the  
understanding that some individuals are overly susceptible to police  
interrogation or a coerced confession."

The defense said Wedick could testify the agents should have  
considered the defendants' intelligence, mental handicaps if any,  
illiteracy and inexperience with the criminal justice system.

Deitch said it could take the government weeks to prepare to rebut  
Wedick's testimony.

Wedick said he worked confidential sources in the 1970s and '80s as  
part of the ABSCAM investigation that convicted several members of  
Congress for bribery. He also worked "Capscam," an investigation of  
bribery in the California Legislature.

Karen Ernst, FBI spokesperson in Sacramento, said Wedick worked for  
the FBI for more than 30 years and retired as a supervisor in  
Sacramento in 2004.


More information about the Marxism mailing list