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Geronimo Pratt sues FBI, L.A. police

May 29, 1998
Web posted at: 4:24 a.m. EDT (0824 GMT)

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- One year after his murder conviction was overturned, former Black Panther Elmer "Geronimo" Pratt has filed a federal suit against the FBI and the Los Angeles Police Department accusing them of malicious prosecution.

Pratt's attorney Johnnie Cochran filed the suit based upon the "a deprivation of a civil liberty" according to Brian Dunn, an attorney that works with Cochran.

Attorneys for Pratt allege that Julio Butler, a witness for the prosecution in his 1972 murder trial, submitted fraudulent evidence which led to his conviction. Last June, Judge Everette Dickey reversed Pratt's 1972 conviction in the 1968 killing of Caroline Olson on the basis that the prosecution did not inform the jury that one of their witnesses was a paid informant.

This reversal came after Pratt had spent 27 years in jail.

A week following the reversal, Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti appealed the ruling saying, "during my office's exhaustive review, we discovered new evidence relating to the credibility of a witness against Mr. Pratt. We did not discover any new evidence pointing to Mr. Pratt's innocence."

Calls to the FBI and the Los Angeles City Attorney's office were not immediately returned. U.S. Attorney spokesman Tom Mrozek said he could not comment on the lawsuit because he had not seen it.

Pratt seeks unspecified damages.

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