(eng) ANTIFA INFO-BULLETIN, Mumia Update

Tom Burghardt (tburghardt@igc.apc.org)
Fri, 24 May 1996 08:56:02 +0200


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|| * -- ALERT! --- * -- May 23, 1996 -- * -- ALERT! --- * ||
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*****

The texts below shed new light on the frame-up of award-winning
black journalist, MOVE supporter and former Black Panther Party
member, Mumia Abu-Jamal. A target of FBI COINTELPRO operations,
Mumia's outspoken defense of Philadelphia's black community,
known as the "voice of the voiceless," earned him the hatred of
that city's Police Department. When the opportunity presented
itself, the PPD and the District Attorney withheld evidence and
coerced witnesses into perjury in order to railroad Mumia onto
death row.

FREE MUMIA ABU JAMAL!
FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS!

ABOLISH THE RACIST DEATH PENALTY!

_____

Date: Thu, 23 May 96 05:52:03 -0700
From: Arm The Spirit <ats@etext.org>
Subject: Important Update On Mumia Abu-Jamal

-----

From: Marpessa Kupendua <nattyreb@ix.netcom.com>
Subject: NEW MUMIA BREAKTHROUGH!!

A press conference was held on May 22, 1996 at City Hall,
Philadelphia for the purpose of announcing that Len Weinglass,
Abu-Jamal's attorney, has gotten a sworn affadavit from Veronica
Jones saying that she lied at Mumia's trial in 1982 because of
fierce pressure by the police.

This is a major breakthrough, and Weinglass is demanding
that the Supreme Court bounce the case back to Judge Sabo, who
must be compelled to hear more testimony on this part of Mumia's
appeal.

What follows is the introduction to the brief filed May 22,
1996 in Philadelphia on behalf of Mumia, as well as Exhibit 1:
VERIFIED STATEMENT OF VERONICA JONES.

================================

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA
EASTERN DISTRICT

_____________________________________

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA,

Appellee,

v.

MUMIA ABU-JAMAL
a.k.a. Wesley Cook,

Appellant.
______________________________________

No. 119 Cap. App. Dkt. 1995

APPELLANT MUMIA ABU-JAMAL'S APPLICATION FOR RELIEF
IN THE FORM OF A REMAND TO TAKE ADDITIONAL TESTIMONY

Appellant Mumia Abu-Jamal ("Jamal") respectfully applies for
relief in the form of a remand to the Court of Common Pleas for
the purpose of taking the additional testimony of Veronica Jones,
a newly-available witness, in support of his Amended Petition for
Post-Conviction Relief. Jones will provide powerful new evidence
that days before she took the stand as a defense eyewitness at
the 1982 trial, Philadelphia police detectives had visited her in
jail, where she faced major felony armed robbery charges, and
threatened and coerced her to change her testimony. Bowing to
this police intimidation, Jones changed her testimony at trial by
repudiating her true eyewitness statement that she saw two men
flee the scene immediately after the shooting, thus seriously
undermining Jamal's defense.

In further support of this Application for Relief, Jamal
submits the attached verified statement of Veronica Jones
(Exhibit 1, "Jones Ver.") and states as follows:

INTRODUCTION

1. Veronica Jones was called as a defense witness at Jamal's
1982 trial but surprised the defense by repudiating her initial
eyewitness account that she saw two men run from the crime scene
immediately after shots were fired. (Tr. 6/29/82: 99-100.) As
explained in more detail below, Jones would now testify that she
changed her testimony in ways harmful to the defense because she
was coerced into doing so by police. At the time of Jamal's
trial, Jones was under arrest on serious felony charges
(including robbery, assault and weapons charges), facing a
possible prison term of 10 to 15 years. Shortly before she
testified as a defense witness, Philadelphia police detectives
visited her in jail and promised she would be treated leniently
on her pending charges if she falsely identified Jamal as the
shooter. The detectives impressed on Jones that she "would face
years in prison" if she did anything to help Jamal's defense.
(Jones Ver. 2.) Because of this police intimidation, Jones gave
false testimony at Jamal's trial and retracted her true
eyewitness account that two men fled the scene immediately after
the shooting.

2. Jones' newly available testimony is critical for several
reasons. Her true eyewitness account of two men fleeing provides
powerful evidence of the defense claim that the shooter fled the
scene. As explained below, the prosecution case was premised on
the claim that only two people -- Jamal and his brother William
Cook -- were at the scene with P.O. Faulkner when Faulkner was
shot. Contrary to the prosecution claim, several witnesses told
police that one or more men had been at the scene and fled. Yet
only one witness, Dessie Hightower, testified to that fact before
the jury. At the 1995 PCRA hearing another witness (cabdriver
Robert Chobert), who at trial had retracted his claim that he saw
the shooter run away, revealed that he had received a prosecution
promise to help him reinstate his suspended drivers' license.
William Singletary, indisputably a witness at the scene,
explained that police suppressed his statement that the shooter
fled and forced him to sign a false witness statement under
intense police pressure and intimidation. Dessie Hightower
described how police subjected him to a grueling five hour
interrogation and a polygraph test because he insisted he saw
someone flee the scene. And Deborah Kordansky, who also saw
someone running immediately after the shooting, could not be
called as a defense witness at trial because the Commonwealth had
not provided the defense her address before trial. Further,
Jones' testimony supports the defense claim that similar police
misconduct was used to coerce a key prosecution witness, the
prostitute Cynthia White, to falsely identify Jamal as the
shooter. The police intimidation of Jones thus corroborates and
buttresses all Jamal's other claims of prosecutorial misconduct
and witness coercion. . . .

===========================================
===========================================

[AT THIS POINT, LET'S GO STRAIGHT TO MS. JONES' NEW STATEMENT]

===========================================
===========================================

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA
EASTERN DISTRICT

No. 119 Capital Appeal Docket
________________________________

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA,
Appellee,

against

MUMIA ABU-JAMAL
a.k.a. Wesley Cook,

Appellant

: VERIFIED STATEMENT
: OF VERONICA JONES

----------------------------------

I, VERONICA JONES, verify that the facts set forth in
following statement are true and correct to the best of my
knowledge, information and belief, subject to the penalties for
unsworn falsification to authorities as provided under 18 PA.C.S.
sec. 4904,:

1. On June 29, 1982 I was called by the defense to testify
as a witness in the trial of Commonwealth v. Jamal, Nos. 1357-
1359, January Sessions, 1982. I testified as a eyewitness to what
had occurred in the early morning hours of December 9, 1981 when
officer Daniel Faulkner was shot on Locust Street between 12th
and 13th Streets in downtown Philadelphia. My testimony with
respect to what I saw was not truthful because two detectives
told me prior to my testifying that I wouldn't "have to worry"
about serious felony charges I then faced if I put the blame on
Jamal for killing the officer. Specifically, at trial I
repeatedly denied seeing two individuals run or jog from the
scene of the shooting after the shots were fired and the
policeman fell prior to the arrival of the police. That testimony
was false. In fact, I did see two men leave the scene in a hurry
as was previously reported by me to the police in an earlier
signed interview.

2. The circumstances of how this came about are as follows:
on June 12, 1982, approximately two weeks prior to my testifying
in the Jamal case, I was arrested on major felony charges (CP
8206-3059, robbery, assault, gun and multiple other charges).
Bail was too high for me to meet and when I appeared as a
witness, I was still in custody, confined to the Philadelphia
County jail. I was told that I faced 10-15 years in prison if
convicted of those charges.

Approximately one week before I testified I was visited in
jail by two white plainclothes detectives. I was initially
shocked at seeing them since the jailers had told me my lawyer
was visiting. The detectives began by speaking, not of the facts
of my case, but of the Jamal case. They told me that if I would
testify against jamal and identify Jamal as the shooter I
wouldn't have to worry about my pending felony charges. I
repeatedly told the detectives that I didn't see the shooting,
but only heard the shots and then saw two men run away. But this
didn't satisfy them. The detectives threatened me by reminding me
that I faced a long prison sentence -- fifteen years on gun
charges -- all the while persisting that I testify to their
version of events. Frightened, I told them I wanted my lawyer
present. When they finally left I knew that if I did anything to
help the Jamal defense I would face years in prison.

It was only a matter of a few days that I was brought to
court. I thought I was going to appear in my case. To my surprise
when I was brought into court I found myself in the midst of the
Jamal case. Both detectives who had threatened me earlier were in
plain view, standing in the rear of the courtroom. When asked by
Jamal's attorney to confirm what I had first told the police --
that I saw two males run from the scene after the firing stopped
-- I steadfastly denied it for fear that I would be punished for
helping the defense.

At that time I was twenty-one years old and the mother of
three young children.

3. Subsequent to my appearance in the Jamal case, I made
bail. I was released from jail and ultimately sentenced to
probation on all the outstanding felony charges.

4. This is what I actually observed the night of the
shooting: I was standing on the northwest corner of Locust and
12th Street when I heard three shots. I looked around a building
on the corner and down Locust Street toward 13th Street in the
direction of the shooting. It was then that I saw a policeman
down on the ground and two black men first walk and then sort of
jog away from where he was lying on the ground. I also observed
another black man standing near the Speedline entrance on the
southeast corner of Locust and 13th Street.

Wanting to see what happened at closer range I walked toward
13th Street on the north side of Locust and got half way there
when I saw the lights of appproaching police cars and turned and
went back to 12th Street. From there I walked a circuitous route
around the scene of the shooting by going south on 12th Street to
Pine, then west on Pine to Broad and thence north to where Broad
and Locust intersect. From that vantage point I could see police
activity by looking eastward up Locust. During none of this time
did I see a prostitute who I knew as "Lucky" but whose real name
is Cynthia White.

5. Within a week of the incident, two Philadelphia detective
and one from Camden, not the ones who saw me prior to my
testimony, came to my mother's house in Camden after 9 p.m. on
the night of December 15, 1981, to interview me. They had not
called in advance and I didn't expect them. I agreed to talk to
them just the same. My mother was present. They wrote a five page
statement in their own hand after questioning me. They also drew
a diagram. I signed both documents. As I've already mentioned,
the written description of what I saw on the night in question,
which I disavowed on the witness stand, is, in the main, accurate
as far as it goes, particularly the part about seeing two men
"sort of jogging" away from the fallen officer. There were,
however, errors on the diagram which I tried to correct during my
testimony in court. I did not meet or talk to any representative
of the defense prior to my testifying despite the fact that it
was they who had called me as a witness.

6. When cross-examined by the assistant district attorney
during the trial I agreed with his suggestion, when confronted
with my statement, that "most of what [you] said in that
statement is not true." (page 147 of the transcript of 6/29/82).
That testimony was false. I also lied when I responded to defense
counsel's urging that I saw two men jog away from the scene with
the absolute falsehood: "No one moved." (page 99 of the
transcript of 6/29/82).

7. In all, I had three contacts with the police or police
detectives after the shooting: once on December 15th when I gave
the statement at my mother's house; again some time later when
uniformed officers at the Sixth District arrested and
interrogated me for hours and offered me immunity from further
arrest for prostitution if I would identify Jamal as the shooter,
the same deal given Cynthia White (Lucky); and lastly, when two
detectives met with me in jail after I was arrested on felony
charges just prior to my testifying and frightened me into
changing my testimony so as not to help the defense.

8. Back then I used several aliases when arrested, including
Rhonda Harris and Louise Tatum, and gave police incorrect home
addresses, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers. After my
release I left the Philadelphia/Camden area. For most of the time
since then I lived outside of Pennsylvania. I still maintain an
unlisted telephone number.

9. I make this statement of my own free will after being
contacted for the first time by representative of Mr. Jamal. No
one has threatened me, offered me any benefit, or any promise of
any kind, in exchange for making this statement. I do so now only
because it is the truth and corrects the false testimony I gave
at trial.

Signed:
VERONICA JONES

Dated: May 21, 1996

========================================

++++ stop the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal ++++
++++ if you agree copy these lines to your sig ++++
++++ see http://www.xs4all.nl/~tank/spg-l/sigaction.htm ++++

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++++ stop the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal ++++
++++ if you agree copy these 3 sentences in your own sig ++++
++++ see: http://www.xs4all.nl/~tank/spg-l/sigaction.htm ++++