FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tues., June 4, 2013
Press contact: Sarah Sloan, 202-904-7949
Weds. June 5, 2:00 p.m.
Press Conference to announce filing of FOIA lawsuit against U.S. State Dept.
State Dept. refuses to release documents on the covert payments to Miami-based journalists during the trial of the Cuban Five
Attorneys from the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) will hold a press conference on Wednesday, June 5 at 2:00 p.m. at their offices at 617 Florida Ave. NW in Washington, D.C. to announce the filing of a major Freedom of Information Action (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. State Department for its refusal to produce responsive materials in its possession about secret payments by the U.S. government to Miami-based journalists who were reporting on the case of the Cuban Five prior to the trial, during the trial and while the jury was deliberating.
The FOIA demand was filed by Liberation Newspaper in October 2010 requesting documents about the government's covert payments to journalists in Miami from 1998-2002. The Cuban Five were arrested on September 12, 1998, and the seven-month trial began in November 2000.
"The State Department is withholding documents that cover a critical time period for the Cuban Five. The documents that were requested would cover the U.S. government's payments to Miami-based journalists at the very time the U.S. government was prosecuting the Cuban Five," stated attorney Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund.
"If the State Department has nothing to hide, why are they refusing to release documents that they are legally required to release?" Verheyden-Hilliard said.
Attorney Carl Messineo, Legal Director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, explained: "It appears the government manipulated domestic public opinion to advance their political and prosecution goals. This lawsuit seeks underlying records. They have no right to hide their misconduct."
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National Committee to Free the Cuban Five