The federal trial of Luis Posada Carriles, accused terrorist and viejito par excellence, has been postponed yet again.
It's the second time this year the one-year-old case has been delayed. Carriles, widely seen as the mastermind of a series of bombings in Havana in 1997, and the collapse of a Cuban airliner in 1976, was indicted in 2009 on perjury charges. We profiled him earlier this year.
The case is being closely watched by the Cuban government, which has sought to extradite and try him, and anti-Castro hardliners here in Miami who see him as a martyr. Carriles was first indicted in 2006 for his involvement in the 1997 bombings after he weasily snuck into the United States through Texas. But the case was dismissed.
Instead, in April 2009, prosecutors indicted the 82-year-old again, this time on nine charges of obstruction of justice and making false statements to immigration authorities when he illegally entered the country.
The case has only dragged in courts since then as attorneys asked for time extensions, couldn't meet deadlines, or just really wanted to catch up on that crazy show on AMC, Breaking Bad. They were supposed to meet in March to choose a convenient date to begin the trial, but prosecutors asked to move the hearing to May 20 so they could have more time to prepare.
But in a motion filed this week, they told a judge in Texas, where Carriles is being tried, that there was a "serious scheduling conflict" with May 20, and wouldn't she pretty please move it. The judge granted the delay, and lawyers will now meet again on June 20 to pick a date on which to kick-off the trial.
Critics say the government is only trying to punt on the case because it threatens to divulge many classified documents that detail the old man's associations with the CIA and other American government agencies. Already, a big portion of the court records are under seal.
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In Louise Bardach's book, Without Fidel, Carriles is linked to the CIA's plans to assassinate Fidel Castro starting in the 60s. In that book, Carriles also half-confesses to his masterminding the 1976 and 1997 bombings. Supposedly, he smuggled explosives into Cuba by sneaking them into shampoo bottles and shoes.
Anyway, the delay is working just dandy for Carriles. In the meantime, he has become a man of leisure. He was spotted at Westchester's Big Five club last year, and in March, attended the Ladies in White March on Calle Ocho sporting a scowl and a resplendent white guayabera. His attorney, Miami-based Arturo Hernandez, has also said he's returned to his first love:
bombing oil painting.
The rescheduling motion, and the court's approval is here.
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