Tags: Cuban | Spy | Trial | Winds | Down

Cuban Spy Trial Winds Down

Tuesday, 29 May 2001 12:00 AM

The prosecution and defense are expected to take the rest of the week in their last chance to convince the 12-member jury. Deliberations won't begin until next week at the earliest.

Much of the argument is centering on a Cuban MiG attack that downed two Brothers to the Rescue light planes in 1996, killing four Cuban-Americans from Miami.

Prosecutors say evidence points to a conspiracy between alleged ringleader Gerardo Hernandez and the Cuban dictatorship to set up the ambush of the fliers over the Florida Straits. They were looking for refugees in rafts and boats trying to make it from Cuba to Florida.

Hernandez is charged with conspiracy to commit murder and could face a life sentence if convicted.

Prosecutors say Hernandez and the other four became "the eyes and ears of the Cuban regime" in south Florida. They said the Cubans, operating under bogus identities, used short-wave radios and encryption software to transmit national defense secrets and disrupt the Miami Cuban-American community.

The defense is expected to insist the Cubans were in this country to monitor a possible U.S. invasion of Cuba by using public means such as newspaper and broadcast reports. The three are Hernandez, Ramon Labanino and Antonio Guerrero.

Labanino allegedly infiltrated U.S. Southern Command headquarters in Miami and Guerrero worked in a menial job at Boca Chica Naval Air Station in the Florida Keys. Those three could face life sentences, and the other two, Rene Gonzalez and Fernando Gonzalez, face as many as 10 years in prison.

Rene Gonzalez was a Brothers to the Rescue volunteer, and Fermando Gonzalez is accused of receiving coded messages from Cuba.

The trial started Dec. 7 before U.S. District Judge Joan Leonard. The jury of 12 includes no Cuban-Americans, but there are five Hispanics.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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The prosecution and defense are expected to take the rest of the week in their last chance to convince the 12-member jury. Deliberations won't begin until next week at the earliest. Much of the argument is centering on a Cuban MiG attack that downed two Brothers to the...
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2001-00-29
Tuesday, 29 May 2001 12:00 AM
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