Georgian diplomat ordered to remain in United States
January 10, 1997
Web posted at: 9:00 p.m. EST
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The high-ranking Georgian diplomat
suspected of driving drunk in a high-speed car accident that
killed a 16-year-old girl was ordered by his government
Friday to remain in the United States pending the outcome of
Gueogui Makharadze, Georgia's No. 2 diplomat in Washington,
had received orders to return home. But Eduard Shevardnadze,
president of the former Soviet republic, overturned those
instructions Friday and said he was prepared to waive the
envoy's diplomatic immunity.
"The president of Georgia reaffirms his concerns over the car
accident caused by the Georgian diplomat which resulted in
the loss of human life," Shervardnadze's office said in a
Makharadze "shall remain in the United States until the
completion of the investigatory and legal procedures, unless
a different agreement between the two governments is
Meanwhile, a senior U.S. official told CNN that Washington-
area police had stopped Makhardze on suspicion of speeding
several times before the January 4 accident near Embassy Row
that claimed the life of Jovianne Waltrick of Kensington,
Police have said they believe Makharadze's car was traveling
as fast as 80 mph when it triggered the multi-vehicle
accident that killed Waltrick. They suspected the crash was
alcohol-related, but they did not administer Breathalyzer or
blood-alcohol tests because of Makharadze's diplomatic
Shevardnadze, the former Soviet foreign minister, directed
Makharadze to remain in the United States after receiving a
personal appeal from U.S. Secretary of State Warren
The Georgian Embassy in Washington, however, issued a
statement defending its earlier decision to recall
Makharadze, but said Shevardnadze bowed to the "deep
concerns" of Christopher and "in the interest of U.S.-
Georgian relations and on moral and ethical grounds."
"On a personal level, the Georgian government has extended
its sincerest condolences to the family of Jovianne
Waltrick," the statement said. "It had paid the expenses of
her funeral, and is endeavoring to assist her family in
obtaining a measure of compensation for their inconsolable
Makharadze's lawyers said in a statement that their client
was an "unwitting political pawn" who "has never had a brush
with the law."
Lawyers Paul Perito and Kirby Behre said Makharadze's rights
had been violated by "the circus-like atmosphere" surrounding
the highly publicized case.
© 1997 Cable News Network, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.