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