A legal argument Thursday over whether prosecutors should be permitted to tell the jury that Luis Posada allegedly talked with an FBI agent while in prison in Panama in 2000 may have inadvertently opened a new, if small window on what we know about a plot to assassinate Fidel Castro.
Posada and three accomplices were charged in November 2000 in connection with a botched attack on the Cuban leader.
On November 22, 2000, while Posada was still in jail awaiting trial, he met with local FBI legal attaché Gil Torres.
During that conversation, Posada supposedly told Torres he had, in fact, “planned the attack” on Castro but “abandoned it when he realized there would be too much collateral damage.”
Posada has always—before and since—publicly denied any involvement in the plot, insisting he was in Panama at the time only to meet with a wannabe Cuban military defector.
Five years later, during his 2005 asylum hearing, a Homeland Security lawyer again asked Posada whether he’d told the FBI he had planned the attack.
Posada answered “I don’t recall.”
Because the 2000 Panama interview took place in prison and Posada didn’t have counsel present, Judge Kathleen Cardone had already ruled the transcript couldn’t be used as evidence during Posada’s current immigration fraud case.
But prosecutors argued Thursday that shouldn’t stop them from simply making reference to the fact of the 2000 interview based on what Posada had said—under oath and with his lawyer present—during his asylum hearing five years later. During the ensuing arguments between the lawyers, the snippet about the FBI interview came out.
In the end, Judge Cardone rejected the government request.
What that means is that the jury won’t get to hear anything about the 2000 interview in which Posada confessed to planning the assassination, while—as he so often does—contradicting other statements he’d already made.
But thanks to the lawyerly arguments, we now at least know what Posada supposedly told the FBI about his role.
Not that that necessarily gets us any closer to the truth…