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Mumia Abu-Jamal Update

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  • Robert Sterling
    Please send as far and wide as possible. Thanks, Robert Sterling Editor, The Konformist http://www.konformist.com Mumia Abu-Jamal Update. Rally 5/12 Tue, 8 May
    Message 1 of 1 , May 10, 2001
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      Please send as far and wide as possible.

      Thanks,

      Robert Sterling
      Editor, The Konformist
      http://www.konformist.com


      Mumia Abu-Jamal Update. Rally 5/12
      Tue, 8 May 200
      Al Weinrub <al.weinrub@...>

      Dear Writer/Supporter of Mumia Abu-Jamal,

      I am writing you, as one of the 300 writers who signed or supported
      last year's writers' ad (in Bay Area publications and the Columbia
      Journalism Review) calling for a new trial for Mumia Abu-Jamal.

      I want to make sure that you know about several recent developments
      in Abu-Jamal's case, and about the upcoming West Coast regional
      demonstration taking place this coming Saturday in San Francisco.

      This email message contains 3 items:

      #1. Announcement: Demonstration/rally this Saturday

      #2. Abu-Jamal dismisses legal team

      #3. Recent revelations at press conference last Friday

      Thank you for your support.

      Al Weinrub, Chair National Writers Union, Local 3

      PS: If you are interested in the union's Writers of Color events,
      please ask.



      #1 Saturday, May 12, Justice for Mumia Abu-Jamal: West Coast Rally,
      10:30
      a.m.
      Western regional demonstration to support a new trial for Mumia
      Abu-Jamal, National Writers Union member who is facing execution in
      Pennsylvania. Demand a new trial, respect for constitutional rights,
      and justice.

      Assemble 10:30 a.m. at Dolores Park (18th and Dolores) in San
      Francisco. March to Civic Center Plaza for 1p.m.rally. LOOK FOR THE
      NATIONAL WRITERS UNION BANNER.

      For info on rally: 415/695-7745, alerts@... or
      www.freemumia.org Please see articles below about recent developments
      in the case.



      #2. New Twist in Case: Abu-Jamal dismisses legal team

      by Al Weinrub

      In a shocking new development several weeks ago, Mumia Abu-Jamal
      dismissed his legal team. It couldn't have come at a worse time.

      For nineteen years Abu-Jamal has been battling to overturn a
      conviction marked by flagrant violations of his Constitutional
      rights. The culmination of this effort to win a new trial is his
      habeus corpus appeal to the Federal District Court in Philadelphia.

      Abu-Jamal's dismissal of chief legal counsel Leonard Weinglass, one
      of the nation's leading death penalty and human rights lawyers, and
      co-counsel Daniel Williams, comes on the verge of oral arguments on
      Abu-Jamal's appeal. If District Court Judge William Yohn does not
      grant Abu-Jamal the right to a new trial, or to an evidentiary
      hearing, Abu-Jamal's execution is all but guaranteed.

      With stakes so high, why did Abu-Jamal suddenly dismiss his legal
      team?

      The answer: a book.

      In what might be the most ironic twist in a case in which Abu-Jamal's
      own writings have been a central factor--first in his arrest, then in
      his conviction and sentencing, then in his subsequent censorship on
      death row, and, finally, in the battle against those who clammor for
      his execution--now the writings of his legal counsel have introduced
      a frightening new element into Abu-Jamal's fight for justice.

      On Monday, March 5, Abu-Jamal petitioned to dismiss his legal team,
      after learning that co-counsel Daniel Williams was in the late stages
      of publishing a book purported to be an "inside account" of his case.
      "It is a long-standing principle of the law that where a conflict of
      interest exists between client and counsel, the right to effective
      assistance of counsel is seriously impaired," wrote Abu-Jamal. Citing
      a breach of loyalty and confidentiality, and a violation of the rules
      of professional conduct on the part of his attorney, Abu-Jamal
      abruptly dismissed his legal team.

      The book in question, authored by Daniel Williams, without
      Abu-Jamal's knowledge, is titled, Executing Justice: An Inside
      Account of the Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Scheduled for publication by
      St. Martin's Press, New York, on April 9, it had not yet been seen by
      Abu-Jamal at the time he dismissed his attorneys.

      Writing in Salon magazine, Writers Union member David Lindorff, who
      pried a copy of the unpublished manuscript out of the publisher, says
      William's book asserts that the political movement which has grown up
      world-wide around Abu-Jamal represents a leftist fringe that
      threaten's Abu-Jamal's legal case.

      If this, indeed, is an accurate portrayal of William's "inside
      account," the book poses a serious threat to Abu-Jamal's defense--for
      this "political movement" has been key to Abu-Jamal's fight for
      justice. It has several times refused to let the state of
      Pennsylvania railroad Abu-Jamal to his death. It now includes among
      its ranks the Congressional Black Caucus, Amnesty International,
      Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, III, the Parliament of the
      European Union, and important sectors of the U.S. labor movement.

      Without that movement, there is no pressure on the courts to
      administer justice.

      That movement is calling for massive mobilizations on May 12 in
      support of a new trial and justice for Abu-Jamal. Demonstrations will
      be held in San Francisco and Philadelphia with support actions
      occurring around the world.

      The National Writers Union has been active over the last couple years
      in opposing the censorship of Abu-Jamal, especially his ultimate
      silencing through execution. Local 3 has been especially active in
      building support for Abu-Jamal among writers in the Bay Area and
      within our parent union, the UAW.

      As time runs out in Abu-Jamal's legal battle, it is all the more
      important for us to step up pressure on the streets. Please join the
      Local 3 contingent on May 12. Look for the union banner.



      #3. Recent revelations at press conference last Friday

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
      Friday, May 4, 2001
      FOR INFORMATION CONTACT:
      (412) 417-3735 (cell) or
      (412) 264-6686
      MUMIA ABU-JAMAL TELLS THE WORLD WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM DECEMBER 9, 1981
      AFFIDAVITS ALSO REVEAL NEW EVIDENCE DOCUMENTS WILL BE RELEASED AT A
      PRESS CONFERENCE TODAY MAY 4 AT 4:30 PM

      "Now for the first time I have been given an opportunity to tell what
      happened in the early morning hours of December 9, 1981. This is what
      happened ..." -- Affidavit of Mumia Abu-Jamal

      MUMIA'S BROTHER, WILLIAM COOK, ALSO REVEALS HIS FIRST-HAND ACCOUNT OF
      WHAT HAPPENED THAT NIGHT: "My brother Mumia Abu-Jamal, had nothing to
      do
      with shooting or killing the policeman." -- Affidavit of William Cook
      MUMIA'S NEW ATTORNEYS FILE THEIR WRITTEN NOTICE OF APPEARANCE IN
      FEDERAL
      COURT TODAY IN PHILADELPHIA: British Barrister Nicholas R.D. Brown,
      Chicago attorney Marlene Kamish, Los Angeles attorney Eliot Lee
      Grossman, and Philadelphia attorney J. Michael Farrell will take over
      representation of Mumia Abu-Jamal when they file their notice of
      appearance in U.S. District Court.

      Mumia's new attorneys also will file sworn statements recounting
      events
      of December 9th. Documents include William Cook's affidavit and will
      be
      filed in U.S. District Court Friday, May 4th and copies will be
      released
      at today's press conference.

      Included in the documents available at the press conference is the
      Motion filed by Mumia to request a written financial accounting from
      his
      prior attorneys. Attorneys Marlene Kamish and Eliot Grossman will be
      present at the press conference.

      DATE: FRIDAY, MAY 4, 2001 -- TODAY --
      TIME: 4:30 P.M.
      PLACE: Federal Building, 6th & Market, Philadelphia

      ---------------------------------------------------------
      Philadelphia Daily News Staff Report

      In a dramatic turn of events in the controversial case of convicted
      cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, his new legal team yesterday released a
      sworn statement from a self-described hit man alleging that the mob,
      and
      not Abu-Jamal, murdered Police Officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981.

      The statement, unveiled at a news conference outside the federal
      courthouse in Center City, was signed by Arnold R. Beverly, who
      claimed
      to have been hired by the mob, "along with another guy," to shoot and
      kill Faulkner.

      Beverly's signed affidavit, dated June 8, 1999, stated that he had
      heard
      the mob wanted Faulkner dead because he was interferring with the
      graft
      and payoffs issued to permit prostitution, gambling and drug-dealing
      to
      continue in and around the 13th and Locust streets area where Faulkner
      was slain.

      Abu-Jamal's legal team also released a statement taken Thursday from
      the
      death-row inmate at a state prison in Greene County in which Abu-Jamal
      denied for the first time having being involved in Faulkner's slaying.

      Beverly said Abu-Jamal had nothing to do with the slaying but came
      upon
      the scene after Faulkner was shot. Beverly claimed he "shot Faulkner
      in
      the face at close range."

      Beverly said that other police officers were present when the shooting
      occurred but that he was not concerned because "I believed that since
      I
      was hired by the mob to shoot and kill Faulkner, any police officers
      on
      the scene would be there to help me."

      Beverly said that Abu-Jamal had been shot by a uniformed cop who
      arrived
      on the scene.

      In response to the affidavit, Cathie Abookire, a spokeswoman for
      District Attorney Lynne Abraham said, "The affidavit . . .is so
      clearly
      ridiculous that it should be obvious to any fair-minded person that it
      is a complete fabrication."

      Abu-Jamal, now 45, was convicted of shooting Faulkner, who had pulled
      over Abu-Jamal's brother in an early-morning traffic stop. Faulkner,
      25,
      was found shot at 13th and Locust and Abu-Jamal was lying nearby,
      wounded by a bullet from Faulkner's gun, and not from another cop's
      gun
      as Beverly alleged. Abu-Jamal's gun, with five spent shells, was also
      found.

      In his affidavit, Beverly also stated that after the shooting, "I left
      the area underground through the speedline sysytem and by
      pre-arrangement met a police officer who assisted me when I exited the
      speedline underground about three blocks away. A car was waiting for
      me
      and I left the center city area."

      Abu-Jamal's attorneys refused to disclose the whereabouts of Beverly
      or
      any other details about him or the other man Beverly claims was hired
      to
      assist in the alleged hit.

      In his statement, Abu-Jamal said: "I did not shoot Police Officer
      Daniel
      Faulkner. I had nothing to do with the killing of Officer Faulkner. I
      am
      innocent."

      He said he did not testify at his 1982 trial because his rights had
      been
      denied throughout the proceeding. Abu-Jamal said his former attorney
      had
      told him not to testify during appeals.

      "Now for the first time, I have been given an opportunity to tell what
      happened to me in the early morning hours of December 9, 1981,"
      Abu-Jamal said. His statement was released by Abu-Jamal's new legal
      team, which took over the case last month.

      While Abu-Jamal's jailhouse writings about the justice system have
      made
      him a cause celebre among death-penalty opponents, he has said little
      about the death of Faulkner.

      "Executing the wrong person will not bring justice to Daniel
      Faulkner,"
      Abu-Jamal attorney Elliot Lee Grossman said yesterday. Abu-Jamal, who
      was a cabbie when the slaying occurred, said he was filling out a trip
      sheet in his cab when he heard what sounded like gunshots, saw people
      running, then saw his brother staggering.

      "As I came across the street, I saw a uniformed cop turn toward me,
      gun
      in hand, saw a flash, and went down to my knees," Abu-Jamal said in
      the
      statement.

      "I closed my eyes and sat still, trying to breathe," Abu-Jamal said.
      "The next thing that I remember, I felt myself being kicked, hit, and
      being brought out of a stupor. When I opened my eyes, I saw cops all
      around me."

      Abu-Jamal said he was rammed into a utility pole and then beaten
      several
      times, once at the door to a hospital where he was taken. He denied
      ever
      confessing to the crime, as prosecutors said he had.

      Abu-Jamal's brother, William Cook, also released a statement yesterday
      saying a friend of his had admitted taking part in the shooting. Cook
      did not testify at his brother's trial.

      "I had nothing to do with the shooting or killing of the police
      officer.
      My brother, Mumia Abu-Jamal, had nothing to do with shooting or
      killing
      the policeman," Cook said. He said he did not see who shot Faulkner.

      Abu-Jamal's former attorney, Daniel Williams, said that the document
      had
      been in the legal team's files but that he and attorney Leonard
      Weinglass had decided not to use it. He declined to say why, and
      Weinglass said he would have no comment.

      Abu-Jamal filed a motion in federal court March 6 asking to dismiss
      Williams and Weinglass, who had represented him since 1992. U.S.
      District Judge William H. Yohn Jr. granted Abu-Jamal's request for new
      counsel.

      In his just-published book on the case, Williams advocated a more
      moderate legal approach than wanted by what he considers
      the "extremist
      pro-Mumia" groups. Abu-Jamal is now represented by lawyers who have
      previously filed friend-of-the-court briefs in the case. A former
      radio
      reporter and Black Panther, Abu-Jamal has maintained that he was
      framed
      by police and that his defense was undermined by an incompetent trial
      attorney.

      Yohn has stayed Abu-Jamal's execution while he decides whether to
      conduct new evidentiary hearings or decide the appeal based on the
      voluminous records of Abu-Jamal's trial and appeals in the state
      courts.
      At issue is whether Abu-Jamal's constitutional rights were violated
      during his 1982 trial before Common Pleas Judge Albert F. Sabo and at
      a
      1995 state post-conviction appeal hearing Sabo conducted. <Picture>

      The Associated Press contributed to this report.

      -------------------------------------------
      Mumia Abu-Jamal Launches Appeal
      Updated 8:14 AM ET May 5, 2001
      By RON TODT, Associated Press Writer

      PHILADELPHIA (AP) - New lawyers for former journalist and Black
      Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal have released the first detailed accounts
      from the death-row inmate of the events surrounding the 1981 killing
      of a police officer.

      The attorneys disclosed Abu-Jamal's description of the shooting
      Friday as they launched their defense in his appeal.

      While Abu-Jamal's jailhouse writings about the justice system have
      brought his cause widespread attention, he has said little about the
      death of Officer Daniel Faulkner.

      "I did not shoot Police Officer Daniel Faulkner. I had nothing to do
      with the killing of Officer Faulkner. I am innocent," Abu-Jamal said
      in a statement taken Thursday at a state prison in Greene County.

      Abu-Jamal said he did not testify at his 1982 trial because his
      rights were denied throughout the proceeding. Abu-Jamal said his
      former attorney had told him not to testify during the appeals
      process.

      "Now for the first time, I have been given an opportunity to tell
      what happened to me in the early morning hours of December 9, 1981,"
      Abu-Jamal said.

      His statement was released by Abu-Jamal's new legal team, which took
      over the case last month. A judge has stayed Abu-Jamal's execution as
      his appeal continues.

      Faulkner, 25, was found shot at close range in the face, and
      Abu-Jamal was lying nearby, wounded by a bullet from Faulkner's gun.
      Abu-Jamal's gun, with five spent shells, was also found.

      Abu-Jamal's attorneys also released a 1999 affidavit Friday from a
      man who said that he and another person shot Faulkner after they were
      hired to kill him.

      "The affidavit ... is so clearly ridiculous that it should be obvious
      to any fair-minded person that it is a complete fabrication," said
      Cathie Abookire, spokeswoman for Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne
      M. Abraham.

      A former radio reporter, Abu-Jamal has maintained that he was framed
      by police and that his defense was undermined by an incompetent trial
      attorney.

      U.S. District Judge William H. Yohn Jr. granted Abu-Jamal's request
      in March for new counsel.

      Yohn has stayed Abu-Jamal's execution while he decides whether to
      conduct new evidentiary hearings or decide the appeal based on the
      voluminous records of Abu-Jamal's trial and appeals in the state
      courts.

      At issue is whether Abu-Jamal's constitutional rights were violated
      during his 1982 trial and at a 1995 state post-conviction appeal.

      ©2001 At Home Corporation. All rights reserved. Excite


      --

      -------------------------------
      National Writers Union, Local 3
      WE DEFEND WRITERS' RIGHTS
      337 17th Street, #101, Oakland CA 94612
      Phone: 510-839-1248
      Fax: 510-839-609


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