Calif. Lawmaker: Leadership Could Free Marine Jailed in Mexico

Monday, 25 Aug 2014 08:25 PM

By Sean Piccoli

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The U.S. Marine jailed in Mexico for crossing the border with firearms has no advocate in either country's government willing to step up and get him released, a California assemblyman organizing a protest on Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi's behalf told Newsmax TV on Monday.

"We want a president that will stand up and do something about it — it really doesn't matter to me whether it's President [Barack] Obama or President Nieto of Mexico," California Republican state legislator Tim Donnelly told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner.

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"Whoever wants to actually be a leader and lead and do the right thing, they'll be a hero," Donnelly said

The rally for Tahmooressi is scheduled for Tuesday in Sacramento.

Tahmooressi, 26, has spent nearly five months in a run-down Tijuana jail after he drove across the border from California carrying three legally registered guns in his truck.

Tahmooressi has said that the March 31 crossing was accidental, and that he realized his mistake and was attempting to turn around when Mexican border guards detained him.

His family has said Tahmooressi suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and may have become disoriented while driving.

Donnelly said that in any case, the long imprisonment is out of proportion to the offense.

"In California, you can commit a serious crime and be out of jail literally in 48 hours," he said. "Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi . . . was in violation of Mexico's laws on carrying firearms for maybe 30 seconds while he was trying to do a U-turn."

Tahmooressi has attorneys hired by his family, and has been to court for trial hearings, but none has produced any resolution to the case or timetable for his return home.

"The only thing I've heard about the Mexican legal system is from the former president, Vicente Fox, who said it's a Napoleonic type of legal system where you're guilty until proven innocent," said Donnelly. "You're declared guilty until you're willing to bribe the right person.

"I don't think Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, who is a man of honor, is going to be bribing anybody," he said.

Donnelly also criticized a Los Angeles Times columnist for describing the case as a "conservative cause célèbre."

"That's despicable," he said. "Those are the words of an ignorant fool. This is not a Republican issue, this is an American issue. This is a man that literally was willing to go under harm's way and is suffering from PTSD"

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