Courts & Crime

Posada linked to explosives during perjury trial

A Cuban American businessman testified Thursday in the Luis Posada Carriles perjury trial that in 1997 he overheard conversations in his Guatemala City office involving the Cuban exile militant and two other men about ways to smuggle explosive materials into Cuba.

Antonio “Tony’’ Alvarez, the witness, said the conversations took place in August 1997 — around the time that bombs were going off at Cuban tourist sites.

It was the first time since the trial began Jan. 10 that a witness has directly linked Posada to explosives during the time that bombs were exploding in Cuban hotels, bars and at the world-famous Bodeguita del Medio restaurant in old Havana.

Alvarez’s testimony also marked a milestone in the nine-week-old trial. Prosecutors indicated to U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone, who is presiding over the trial, that they plan to rest their case after the testimony of a former reporter for The New York Times, Ann Louise Bardach. She is expected to begin testifying Wednesday.

Cardone told jurors, after Alvarez finished testifying, that the trial will halt until Wednesday when the prosecution intends to put Bardach on the witness stand. The judge approved the time off because Bardach was sick and jurors needed a break.

Bardach is considered the prosecution’s star witness because she interviewed Posada in 1998 and afterward The New York Times published a story saying that “Mr. Posada proudly admitted authorship of the hotel bomb attacks last year.’’

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