Yesterday, the Mexican judicial system held its third hearing in the case of Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi. The federal prosecutor and Tahmooressi’s defense attorney, Fernando Benitez, presented selected clips of surveillance footage taken from 18 security cameras showing his entry into Mexico and arrest on March 31. The Marine reservist was not permitted to attend, nor were any reporters allowed in the courtroom during the eight-hour proceeding.
As Legal Insurrection has previously reported, Tahmooressi claims that he did not intend to drive into Mexico, but there was no exit accessible to him before arriving at the border patrol station in San Ysidro. He says that he then tried to alert the customs officials that he had legal firearms in his vehicle and wished to turn around to return to the US.
In an interview with Fox News, Benitez gave his perspective on the hearing: “We are happy with the results because we can conclusively state that our client told the truth all along.”
“You can clearly see that my client’s demeanor from the beginning is calm, he is cooperative,” Benitez told Fox Wednesday. “He is clearly motioning … that he wants to go back and motions that the guns are hidden in a certain place and he cooperates with his captors.”
The San Diego Union-Tribune reports:
Mexican prosecutors have maintained silence, save for a “fact sheet” outlining the charges issued through the federal Attorney General’s Office in Mexico City in June. The statement stressed that “this is not a political or diplomatic issue. It is strictly a judicial issue that will be resolved by the Mexican federal courts.” Most accounts of the proceedings have come through Tahmooressi’s attorney, who has been granting interviews and posting information on Twitter.
Tuesday’s court proceeding was the third evidentiary hearing in the case, and likely not the last. Unlike the two previous hearings, Tahmooressi did not attend, and reportedly remained behind bars at El Hongo State Penitentiary outside Tecate. His mother, Jill Tahmooressi, arrived in a U.S. government vehicle, entering through a side door alongside Michael Veasy, consular chief at the U.S. Consulate in Tijuana as well as the family’s adviser, Philip Dunn, of the nonprofit group Serving California.
Ultimately, there was no resolution to the case as a result of the evidence introduced. Benitez plans to file more motions, seeking to get the case dismissed on grounds such as an improper arrest procedure and the need for his client to get treatment for his PTSD acquired in his two tours of Afghanistan.
However, no new hearings have been scheduled.
In the meantime, a bill introduced in Congress, HR620 by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) has gained 61 cosponsors.
Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives
(1) the Government of Mexico should immediately release
United States Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi and provide for
his swift return to the United States so Sgt. Tahmooressi can
receive the appropriate medical assistance for his medical
(2) the President of the United States should utilize the
full powers and authorities of his office to immediately secure
the release of United States Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi.
UPDATE: Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi’s defense attorney Fernando Benitez appeared on On the Record with Greta Van Susteren this evening and announced that he will be returning to court on the 29th to present video footage of the route that Tahmooressi took from the parking lot where he got into his car to the border station where he was arrested in San Ysidro.
[this post originally appeared at LegalInsurrection.com]