Write us!

March 2002 • Vol 2, No. 3 •

Prosecution’s Case Against Mumia Abu-Jamal Crumbles as New Affidavit Discredits Main Prosecution Witness

By Carole Seligman

Another “bombshell” has detonated in the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Jamal’s attorneys, Brown, Kamish, Grossman and Farrell, released a new affidavit in Philadelphia on Feb. 6, which discredits the trial testimony of one of the two prosecution “eye-witnesses” at the original trial in 1982.

Jamal has now been imprisoned on death row in Pennsylvania for 20 years for a crime to which another man—Arnold Beverly—has confessed.

The crime was the killing of Police Officer Daniel Faulkner. Over the past year, the defense attorneys have uncovered, through tireless investigation, information about the case that has undermined the prosecution’s theory of the case and exposed the corruption of all who collaborated to bring about the finding of guilt and the death sentence. These include the Philadelphia Police Department, the Philadelphia District Attorney, the trial judge Albert Sabo, and the appeals courts including the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Mumia Abu-Jamal is a gifted and courageous journalist who has dared to speak out against every injustice perpetrated by the United States government. (See two of his columns elsewhere in this magazine.) Many of his supporters believe that his writings about the criminal justice system, the death penalty, and the widespread prison gulag system are the reason why he has been unable to find justice through his years of struggle in the courts.

One after another, every pillar of the prosecution’s case has crumbled, including the discrediting of the prosecution’s so-called “eye-witnesses,” the prosecution’s tampering with evidence, the prosecution’s claim of a confession, and now, a real confession by Beverly. Beverly’s sworn affidavit says that he was hired by Philadelphia cops to kill Faulkner (because Faulkner was cooperating in an investigation of corruption in the Philadelphia Police Department!)

Prosecution “eye witness” never evensaw the shooting!

The latest “bombshell” is named Yvette Williams. In an affidavit Jamal’s lawyers filed in the federal court of appeals in Philadelphia, Williams swears that star prosecution witness, Cynthia White, told Williams that police forced her to falsely identify Jamal as the shooter when she did not even see the shooting.

Williams, who was in protective custody with prostitute Cynthia White after Police Officer Daniel Faulkner was shot to death in December of 1981, says in the affidavit that White also admitted to having a drug habit and being high on drugs when the shooting took place.

According to Williams’ sworn statement, “When Lucky [Cynthia White] told me she didn’t even see who shot Officer Faulkner, I asked her why she was ‘lying on that man’ (Mumia Abu-Jamal). She told me it was because the police and vice threatened her life. Additionally, the police were giving her money for tricks ... the police told her they would consolidate all her cases and send her ‘up’ to Muncy, a women’s prison, for a long time if she didn’t testify to what they told her to say.”

Williams states in the affidavit that, when police detectives took White out of her cell to talk to her, White would return with prohibited contraband “like cigarettes and candy and even hoagies, syringes and white powders.”

Williams’ sworn statement, signed before a notary on January 28 of this year, says that she has “almost had a nervous breakdown over keeping quiet about this all these years,” and explains that she was afraid of what the police would do to her if she came forward. According to Williams’ affidavit, when Jamal’s case was back in the news in mid-December of last year, “I couldn’t get it out of my mind, I kept thinking that man could die because of all the lies that Lucky told on that witness stand and Mrs. Faulkner [Officer Faulkner’s widow] would never know the truth.”

In a 41-page motion filed with Williams’ sworn statement, Jamal’s attorneys argue that his conviction should be overturned because, “Mumia Abu-Jamal is innocent and has the evidence to prove it.” The attorneys request authorization from the federal appeals court to appeal Judge Yohn’s refusal to let them amend the habeas corpus petition filed by Jamal’s previous lawyers, Leonard Weinglass and Daniel Williams, whom he fired in May of last year for conflicts of interest. His attorneys also request authorization to appeal six specific violations of the right to a fair trial, including one based on the sworn statement of Court Reporter Terri Maurer-Carter in which she states that, during the time of Jamal’s trial, she overheard Judge Sabo say, in reference to Jamal, “Yeah, and I’m going to help ‘em fry the nigger.”

Supporters for Mumia organize in his defense

Meanwhile, supporters of Mumia, who are seeking to win his freedom from prison, continue to organize meetings and demonstrations. For example, in the San Francisco Bay Area two major events are planned for April and May. On April 20 radical historian, Howard Zinn, and author Alice Walker will speak at a benefit to raise funds for Jamal’s legal defense. On May 11 the Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, a broad coalition which has worked for Mumia’s freedom for almost five years, has called for a mass demonstration on his behalf. The demonstration will march up the city’s main thoroughfare, Market Street, and culminate with a rally in Civic Center Plaza.





Write us