Defense requests new prosecutor in CIA shootings
Alleged racial bias cited, deniedAugust 8, 1997
Web posted at: 2:27 p.m. EDT (1827 GMT)
FAIRFAX, Virginia (CNN) -- The Pakistani man facing a murder trial in the 1993 shooting deaths of two CIA employees is asking the court to disqualify the prosecutor because of a possible racial bias.
Mir Aimal Kansi, 33, is charged with killing two men outside the spy agency's suburban Virginia headquarters. After a four-year manhunt, the FBI snatched Kansi from a Pakistani hotel in June and returned him to Virginia for trial. Three other people were wounded in the attack.
In court papers filed on Thursday, public defender Richard Goemann cited comments made by prosecutor Robert Horan Jr. in an interview with CNN affiliate WTTG in Washington.
Referring to the part of Pakistan where Kansi was arrested, Horan called it "very backward," and when describing the $2 million reward offered for Kansi's capture, Horan said: "I'm sure there are people over there who would turn in their mother for $20,000, let alone $2 million."
Earlier this week, Horan said the comment referred only to the outlaws who hid Kansi from capture for more than four years. Horan said he never demeaned Pakistanis in general.
"I've been a criminal prosecutor for 30 years and I've never been accused of racial bias by anyone," Horan said Thursday. "That is just so preposterous."
Goemann wrote that Horan "dehumanizes Mr. Kansi in the eyes of the jury pool, making it easier for potential jurors to vote for death."
Distorted versions of Horan's remarks caused three days of unrest in Pakistan over the weekend and Monday.
Goemann cited that unrest as further reason to delay Kansi's November 3 trial. Circuit Judge J. Howe Brown will hear arguments August 18 on motions to delay the trial and appoint an outside prosecutor.
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