WASHINGTON .—A U.S. federal court has instructed the State Department to hand over material related to the payment of journalists who acted to the detriment of the Five.
According to the antiterroristas.cu website, in June, the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) filed a lawsuit against the State Department in the District of Columbia’s federal court, based on the Freedom of Information Act, given that the Department refused to hand over material in its possession on secret payments by the government to Miami-based journalists.
These reporters covered the case of the Five before and during their trial, as well as during the jury’s deliberations. The press irreparably prejudiced the Five with its inflammatory reporting.
Now, as a result of the PCJF lawsuit, the State Department has received an order from the court to expeditiously produce the documents in its possession. It was ordered to release the first round beginning in October.
"This is an important step forward," said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the PCJF.
The documents which the State Department refused to hand over cover a crucial period for the Cuban anti-terrorists, she added. "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," she noted.
Attorney Carl Messineo, PCJF legal director, explained the purpose of the lawsuit at the time of its filing in June 2013: "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." (PL)