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News / Nation & World

Former Haitian senator pleads guilty in U.S. court to charges related to Haiti president’s killing

By Associated Press
Published: October 10, 2023, 4:44pm

MIAMI (AP) — A former Haitian senator pleaded guilty on Tuesday in the United States to charges related to the 2021 assassination of former President Jovenel Moïse.

John Joel Joseph made his appearance at a Miami federal court and changed his plea after reaching an agreement with the government.

Federal judge Jose Martinez set his sentencing for Dec. 19. Joseph faces a possible life sentence, but the U.S. government would recommend reducing it if he cooperates with the investigation, according to the 11th page plea agreement.

The former senator was extradited from Jamaica to the U.S. in June to face charges of conspiring to commit murder or kidnapping outside the United States and providing material support resulting in death, knowing or intending that such material support would be used to prepare for or carry out the conspiracy to kill or kidnap.

Joseph, a very well known politician and opponent of the slain president’s Tet Kale party, is one of the 11 people facing charges related to the killing in South Florida. Another two people also pleaded guilty and one of them, Haitian-Chilean businessman Rodolphe Jaar, was sentenced in June to life in prison. The sentencing for former Colombian soldier German Alejandro Rivera Garcia is set for Oct. 27.

Eight more defendants are waiting trial in the United States.

According to the charges, Joseph and others, including about 20 Colombian citizens and several dual Haitian-American citizens, participated in a plot to kidnap or kill Haiti’s president, who was slain at his home in Haiti on July 7, 2021.

President Moïse was killed when assailants broke into his private home in Port-au-Prince. He was 53 years old.

The former senator was arrested in Jamaica in January, and in March he agreed to be extradited to the U.S.

The Haitian government also arrested more than 40 people for their alleged roles in the murder.