EL PASO, Texas — The judge in Luis Posada Carriles' trial dealt his defense an early blow on Tuesday, the first day of court arguments, saying he will not be allowed to argue that the Cuban government often falsifies evidence.
Arturo V. Hernandez, lawyer for the man that Cuba calls a terrorist and his supporters call a freedom fighter, had planned to mention nine such cases of lying if Cuban-provided evidence was submitted at the trial.
His examples included the Miami trial of the five Cuban spies and an investigation into Cuba's killing of four Brothers to the Rescue members in 1996.
Prosecutor Tim J. Riordan III objected strenuously and sometimes sarcastically in his counter-argument before U.S. District Court Judge Kathleen Cardone.
"This is not the History Channel . . . The regime in Cuba is not the defendant in this case,'' he said. "This is not for The Miami Herald.''
Cardone said she was leaning toward accepting Riordan's argument but gave gave Hernandez until Wednesday morning to file a written argument.
The first open-court argument in the trial, which opened Monday, erupted just minutes after the jurors were seated -- seven women and five men, plus four female alternates. All but two appeared to be Hispanic.
Hernandez said he needed to lay out Cuba's alleged lies because prosecutors plan to have three Cuban officials testify about a string of Havana bombings in 1997, and submit 6,500 documents generated by the Cuban government.
Cardone said Hernandez will have the opportunity to challenge the authenticity of the Cuban evidence, but that his nine examples of lying were "irrelevant.''
Posada is charged with lying when he denied under oath any role in the Havana bombings, lying about the way he entered the United States in 2005 and about a fake Guatemala passport.
Cardone also appeared to limit Hernandez's ability to challenge the motivation of U.S. immigration officials who questioned Posada in El Paso in 2005 and 2006 about his U.S. entry.
Nine of the charges of lying stem from those interviews, which in 2007 Cardone ruled were designed not to consider his asylum and naturalization requests but to build a criminal case against him. Her ruling was later overturned.
Hernandez made it clear that he planned to make Cuba a central element of the trial. "On Cuba, the issue is endemic to this case,'' he said.
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