Mexican judge to review Tahmooressi surveillance video Tuesday
A Marine sergeant who’s been held in a Mexican jail for almost six months will be going back to court Tuesday. The Mexican judge will be looking at surveillance video that could support Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi’s claim of innocence.
The defense team for Sgt. Tahmooressi had to subpoena these tapes to pry them out of Mexican customs to present as evidence in the case. With hours and hours of video to view, the proceeding is expected to last all day and even into the night. It’s part of the defense strategy to convince a Mexican judge that this young veteran had no criminal intent.
A ‘wrong turn,’ that’s how Sgt. Tahmooressi says he wound up in Mexico. He was detained on March 31st when Mexican customs agents say they found three guns and more than 400 rounds of ammunition in his pick-up truck. Possession of firearms is against the law in Mexico.
“This was someone who just happened to have them in the car and made a wrong turn when he got to the border” said attorney Phil Dunn of Serving California, a veterans advocacy group.
Despite that claim, the 25-year-old Marine reservist has been locked up in a Mexican jail for almost six months. Tahmooressi has said he made a simple mistake when he entered Mexico at the San Ysidro border. Video from border surveillance cameras could back up that assertion. The judge will be scanning through eight hours of video evidence on Tuesday.
“We don’t convict people of crimes for something they didn’t intend to do, and that’s essentially the same state of the law in Mexico.”
Dunn plans to attend the court hearing Tuesday. He’s been a close adviser to Tahmooressi’s mother Jill.
“Is there tremendous anxiety? Yes. You bet. But she is enormously courageous.”
Fernando Benitez, the lead attorney for Sgt. Tahmooressi, offered this insight via Twitter: “I believe my client’s statement, but not the arresting officers’ version; (Tuesday) we’ll see who’s been truthful and who has not.”
Some of Tahmooressi’s supporters have signed an online petition saying the White House should do more to help the Afghanistan war vet, who suffers from PTSD. Since Tahmooressi isn’t being treated in prison for his condition, his attorneys may use that as grounds for his release.
“It certainly would be an excellent humanitarian reason and grounds for allowing him to be released to deal with this medical condition.”
Tuesday’s court hearing is only about presenting evidence, no ruling by the judge is expected. Tahmooressi’s defense team may also argue that his rights under the Mexican Constitution were violated during his initial detention and search.