By Carole Seligman
Another bombshell has detonated in the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Jamals 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 manArnold Beverlyhas 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 prosecutions 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 prosecutions case has crumbled, including the discrediting of the prosecutions so-called eye-witnesses, the prosecutions tampering with evidence, the prosecutions claim of a confession, and now, a real confession by Beverly. Beverlys 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 Jamals 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 didnt 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 womens prison, for a long time if she didnt 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 Jamals case was back in the news in mid-December of last year, I couldnt 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 Faulkners widow] would never know the truth.
In a 41-page motion filed with Williams sworn statement, Jamals 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 Yohns refusal to let them amend the habeas corpus petition filed by Jamals 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 Jamals trial, she overheard Judge Sabo say, in reference to Jamal, Yeah, and Im 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 Jamals legal defense. On May 11 the Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, a broad coalition which has worked for Mumias freedom for almost five years, has called for a mass demonstration on his behalf. The demonstration will march up the citys main thoroughfare, Market Street, and culminate with a rally in Civic Center Plaza.