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Sacramento prosecutors in Vang case deny any misconduct

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Sacramento prosecutors in Vang case deny any misconduct

Post by Guest on April 9th 2009, 5:56 am

http://www.sacbee.com/news/story/1760228.html


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"Why people hate America? You came and destroyed the Hmong harmonious ways of living. They welcome you, feed you and protect you and your selfish naive racist backstabbing gov't lies and interests. Have you read the news lately? Laos, Vietnam Troops Send “hunter-killer” To Slaughter Hmong: Over 6500 Face Death in The Coming Weeks. media-newswire.com While you Americans want to trial and prison the man and his men who served, protected and sacrificed theirs lives to help you dirty Americans, the Hmong have became another chapter of Americans' hypocrisy and imperialism. Women, children and innocent men and elderly people are being killed right now as I typed this comment. I am anger. I've lost my pride in being an American. This reminds me of The Taliban who once worked for Americans. This reminds me of the murders in the middle east right now. Those who helped Americans and left to die. American Gov't are cruel and downright evil. Allies become foes, enemies become friends?"

-- hmongshaman
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Sacramento prosecutors in Vang case deny any misconduct
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By Denny Walsh
dwalsh@sacbee.com
Published: Tuesday, Apr. 7, 2009 - 12:00 am | Page 1B

Denying allegations of government misconduct in the case against 11 men accused of plotting the violent overthrow of the communist regime in Laos, prosecutors fired back Monday in federal court in Sacramento.

The defendants have "failed to demonstrate that law enforcement agents or prosecutors in this case engaged in any sort of misconduct, much less conduct that would violate due process standards," the prosecution's response declares.

Lawyers in the U.S. attorney's office say the defense allegations cherry-pick a series of seemingly supportive facts from the record – frequently out of context – and omit other pertinent, nonsupportive facts.

The response also accuses the defense lawyers of "blithely alleg(ing) that the government 'concocted' its entire case, lied repeatedly to judicial officers … and otherwise committed outrageous … conduct."

It asks the court to "reject these meritless contentions."

The document filed Monday is a response to a motion filed by defense attorneys in March alleging that that agents and prosecutors fabricated a case against the 11 men, including Gen. Vang Pao, and that hundreds of pages of reports and dozens of hours of wiretap recordings turned over to the defense team by prosecutors reveal the dishonesty of the charges.

The motion is scheduled to be argued May 11 before U.S. District Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr.

The prosecution's response is 1,494 pages, including a 113-page brief that takes a reader step-by-step through the investigation, and 51 exhibits numbering 1,381 pages. It was filed by a team of three assistant U.S. attorneys in Sacramento and two trial attorneys from the Justice Department's National Security Division in Washington, D.C. Assistant U.S. Attorney S. Robert Tice-Raskin, the lead prosecutor, signed the brief.

The exhibits are a 50-page summary of contacts between the defendants and an undercover agent – referred to as the UC – of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives posing as an arms dealer, transcripts of those contacts taken from surreptitious recordings and electronic interceptions, and agents' reports.

Charged as conspirators are retired Army Lt. Col. Harrison Jack from Woodland and 10 Asian Americans, all from the Hmong mountain tribe of Laos. They are alleged to have planned – along with the undercover agent – a spectacular coup, complete with mercenaries and military weapons, including Stinger missiles.

Contrary to a defense claim, the prosecutors' brief says, ATFE "properly targeted … Jack for investigation," after he told an acquaintance he wanted "to acquire and transfer 500 AK-47 machine guns abroad, that the people he was dealing with had made similar purchases in the past, and that the weapons were to be provided to Hmong Laotians who purportedly needed protection from an alleged Lao government genocide."

The acquaintance tipped off the federal firearms agency.

"On its face, this information suggested that crimes between Jack and his 'people' were presently in the planning stages, or already under way, including a conspiracy to unlawfully receive, possess and transfer AK-47s, a conspiracy to unlawfully export AK-47s, a conspiracy to kill and maim individuals abroad, and/or a conspiracy to violate the Neutrality Act," the brief states.

It also says the undercover agent did not goad or press the defendants to acquire more powerful weaponry or engage in more egregious criminal conduct, again contrary to defense claims.

"A review of the complete record reveals that willing conspirators sometimes made requests to buy specific weapons and manpower from the UC (including mercenaries and hundreds of machine guns); other times, the UC recommended weapons for sale to readily willing and interested conspirators," the brief goes on.

The prosecutors also deny a defense claim that the undercover agent formulated and directed the conspiracies for otherwise "incompetent" conspirators.

It was the defendants, the brief insists, who came up with the idea of a coup and the strategies to carry it out, gathered intelligence and developed a strategic objective.

The defendants "placed an initial order with the UC for both weaponry … and mercenaries … indicated their unequivocal intention" to order more weapons – all with a goal of arming 10,000 insurgents – and "actively attempted to gather funds to support their objectives," the brief alleges.

It disputes the defense claims that the undercover agent inflamed the defendants' passions about the reported genocide in Laos, dashed their hopes for a peaceful solution, or assured them that the U.S. government would support an overthrow of the Lao regime.

The closest prosecutors come to a concession is when they address a claim that they failed to apprise defense lawyers and the court during bail proceedings of exculpatory evidence relating to Vang.

"At the time of indictment, and indeed at the time of bail proceedings, the government did not have full translations of certain Lao/Hmong conversations which arguably suggest that Vang Pao ultimately opposed the plan," the brief acknowledges.

But, it says, "contrary to the defense contentions, the UC did not fabricate incriminating exchanges between himself and Vang Pao."

Vang is a leader of Hmong expatriates who commanded the tribe's guerilla army recruited by the CIA in the Vietnam War era to fight the communists in Southeast Asia.

Finally, the prosecutors argue that purported false statements by agents and prosecutors, even if assumed to be true, do not justify dismissal of an indictment where, as here, there is either no prejudice to the defendants or, if there is any, it can be rectified by a lesser remedy, such as suppression of evidence.
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