Family of Jailed Marine: State Dept. 'Got Punked' on Mexican Lawyer

Thursday, 29 May 2014 03:01 PM

By Drew MacKenzie

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The State Department has been slammed by the family of jailed Marine Andrew Tahmooressi after he fired his lawyer who had been recommended by the government agency to help free him from a Mexican prison.

Lawyer Alejandro Osuna was booted after he allegedly suggested that Tahmooressi tell lies to Mexican authorities, leading to a private investigator for the Marine’s family to say the State Department got “punked,” according to Fox News.

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Sgt. Tahmooressi had found Osuna on a list posted online by the U.S. Consulate in Tijuana of attorneys who are supposed to help Americans facing problems in the country, Fox News reports.

But his mother Jill Tahmooressi said that the lawyer had suggested to her son that he should lie to Mexican authorities about his previous trips to Mexico before he was arrested, with the result that the lawyer was fired.

Bart Santos, who has been working with Tahmooressi's family as a private investigator, told Fox News that the State Department "absolutely" must remove Osuna from his list of recommended lawyers.

"He was lying on behalf of Andrew," Santos said, adding: "The State Department got punked."

Jill Tahmooressi told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren on Wednesday that the attorney situation was a "big, unfortunate distraction," adding, "I don't understand why the truth couldn't have been told the right way the first time."

Her 25-year-old son, of Weston, Fla., was arrested after he drove his truck through the San Ysidro, Calif., border crossing into Tijuana on April 1 with three registered firearms amongst his possessions.

His mother says he suffers from "directional dysfunction," and claims her son got lost near the border after dark and took a wrong turn into Mexico.

According to Fox News sources, an email from Osuna urged Tahmooressi to claim he'd never been to Tijuana, even though he'd been there a half-dozen times.

Santos said Osuna also wanted the Marine to allege that he'd only been in California for a week, which wasn't true either. “There's no reason to lie about these things," said Santos.

Osuna has denied the allegations.

The State Department was asked by Fox News whether it had vetted its list of legal advisers in the area, but did not immediately respond. It’s common practice in U.S. embassies and consulates all over the world to provide lists of possible attorneys to help Americans in trouble.

Tahmooressi’s legal woes were revealed as a friend of the Marine said on “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren” that Sgt. Tahmooressi had told him he’d been beaten and chained to a bed by Mexican authorities.

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Mark Podlaski spoke with Tahmooressi on the phone last week from prison, and his friend said he was so brutally beaten with a bat that it resulted in a broken jaw Podlaski added that Tahmooressi also told him he was stripped naked and chained to a bed.

"This is from his mouth, what I'm telling you right now is what he endured as an American citizen and a U.S. Marine was that he was chained to his bed for so long that when they finally released him at the end of that four weeks he couldn't even walk, he was crippled from such bad muscle dystrophy and joint pain and not being able to fire the muscles in his body," said Podlaski.

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