Defense Lawyers: State Prosecutors baffling Cummings’ trial
Defense Lawyers lash out at State Prosecutors here, accusing them of baffling the trial of opposition leader Mr. Alexander B. Cummings with unmerited and unreasonable requests that are far removed from the substantive issues of the “forgery and criminal conspiracy” case brought against their client.
Defendant Cummings is Political Leader of the opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC). He is being tried along with his party Chairman Daniel F. Naatehn and Secretary General Aloysius Toe.
Defense Lawyers made specific reference to a Bill of Information filed in court by lead prosecutor, Solicitor General Syrenius Cephus, requesting Mr. Cummings to produce his Passport with an American visa, as the sole proof that he did travel to the United States and also, to a vague request to subpoena a so-called service provider to produce Whatsapp messages amongst CPP Political Leaders.
However, Defense Lawyers argue that Whatsapp messages are end-to-end encrypted, with no third-party access, while there is no law that requires a defendant requesting voluntary leave from a trial to produce American passport with American visa to establish that s/he did travel to the United States.
They maintain that in keeping with law, they have provided State Prosecutors with Mr. Cummings’ flight and ticket numbers, itinerary of departure, duration of stay and return to Liberia therefore, it is unthinkable to additionally request their client to produce Whatsapp messages, considering its encrypted technology.
Lawyers representing Mr. Cummings further argue that the fact that their client has since returned and appeared in court, the request by state prosecutors is unnecessary and viewed same as personal vindictive against Mr. Cummings, while Co-defendants Naatehn and Toe are mere victims of circumstances.
State Prosecutors on Monday, April 4, filed a bill of information, requesting ANC Defense Lawyers to provide in addition to Mr. Cummings’ travel information, his Passport with American visa to prove that he traveled to the United States and returned to Liberia before or on March 25, 2022. But the Defense suspects ulterior motives in State Lawyers’ request for Cummings’ passport with American visa, noting that the charges are politically motivated.
Accordingly, Defense lawyers have requested the Monrovia City Court presided over by Magistrate Jomah Jallah to dismiss and deny the State Prosecutors’ request for Cummings’ passport with American visa and proceed with the trial of the case.
Meanwhile, the court has reserved ruling on the matter.
ANC Political Leader, Mr. Alexander B. Cummings and his Vice National Chairman Daniel Naatehn and Secretary General Aloysius Toe are facing trial for alleged alteration of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) framework document.
ANC authorities have vehemently rejected and denied the charges, describing them as bogus and politically motivated, as part of conspiracies between the All Liberian Party of Benoni Urey and the ruling CDC with ulterior motives.
State prosecutors’ first state witness, Theodore Momo, Chairman of the All Liberian Party of Mr. Benoni Urey, is still undergoing cross-examination by ANC defense lawyers. Defense Lawyers have described his testimony as lies and are seeking to establish that witness Momo lied under oath about the alteration of the CPP framework document.
Additionally, it is confirmed that State Lawyers submitted evidence of WhatsApp messages in which the deleted messages would help prove Messrs Cummings, Nathen, and Toe’s innocence. State Lawyers have since submitted the full set of text messages to the court. https://thenewdawnliberia.com/cummings-trial-state-lawyers-admit-tampering-with-evidence/Editing by Jonathan Browne