Posted on Tuesday, 02.25.14
Pilot's brother to appeal judge's rejection of Castro lawsuit in 1996
BY JUAN O. TAMAYO
The brother of one of the South Florida pilots shot down and killed by
Cuban MiGs 18 years ago says he will pursue his lawsuit demanding that
U.S. prosecutors submit evidence of murder against Fidel and Raúl Castro
to a grand jury.
"I don't understand what these prosecutors have been doing all this
time," said Nelson Morales, 66, whose brother Pablo was killed in the
Feb. 24, 1996 shootdown along with Carlos Costa, Armando Alejandre and
Mario de la Peña.
Morales filed suit last year to force U.S. prosecutors in Miami to
present to a grand jury any evidence of the Castro brothers' guilt in
the deaths, including recordings and interviews in which they accept
responsibility for downing the planes.
The federal prosecutors filed murder charges against Gen. Ruben Martinez
Puente, who commanded Cuba's air defense in 1996, and brothers Lorenzo
Alberto and Francisco Pérez Pérez, who piloted the MiGs. But they did
not indict the Castro brothers.
U.S. Judge Donald H. Graham rejected Morales' suit last month, ruling
that the petitioner sought to encroach on prosecutorial discretions and
that Morales had not met one of the technical requirements of the law.
Attorney Juan Carlos Zorrilla, who represents Morales, has filed a
notice of appeal to the 11th Circuit Court in Atlanta. He argues that
the lawsuit seeks only to force the prosecutors to present the evidence
to a grand jury. The grand jury and prosecutors can then decline to
pursue the case, the attorney added.
Zorrilla said Morales will separately attempt to resolve the technical
issue by seeking a meeting with the federal prosecutors in Miami to
personally turn over the evidence against the Castro brothers and ask
that it be presented to the grand jury.
Former U.S. Attorney Kendall B. Coffey and Brothers to the Rescue leader
Jose Basulto presented much of the evidence to the prosecutors in 2008,
but Graham ruled the law required that Morales himself present the evidence.
"We will go to Atlanta, we will do anything and everything necessary for
this case," Morales said. "I don't understand why a federal judge and
federal prosecutors are protecting these murderers."
Zorrilla filed the "writ of mandamus" — a request for a court order
requiring the government to take action — in July to force prosecutors
to submit any evidence implicating Fidel and Raúl Castro in the deaths.
Prosecutors also should inform the grand jury that it can vote to pursue
an inquiry on its own, the lawsuit added.
Source: Pilot's brother to appeal judge's rejection of Castro lawsuit in
1996 shoot-down - Cuba - MiamiHerald.com -