Monday, September 3, 2007

Trial Update

Above: The Sinop airport and the trial proceedings.

Update on the trial from So Noticias, a news site that covers the interior of Mato Grosso state. The trial is being held in the small city of Sinop, near the Amazon crash site. (Translation thanks to Richard Pedicini).

Note this amazing wording in the story, which reflects a common attitude that convictions are a sure thing: "There is no time set for the verdict and sentencing of the accused."

From So Noticias:

"New steps in the trial in the second worst air accident in the history of Brazilian aviation, in the far north of Mato Grosso, will be set starting on the 12th. This was the deadline stipulated by the federal judge in Sinop, Murilo Mendes, for the lawyers for American pilots Joseph Lepore and Jan Paladino, and for the four air traffic controllers, all indicted by the Federal Prosecutors' Office (MPF), to present their thesis of defense and their list of witnesses.

Só Notícias learned that this stage will be marked by the testimony of the witnesses for the accusation and, later, the defense. Prosecutor Thiago Lemos de Andrade has already declared that only two were presented by the MPF, one being an air traffic control supervisor and a passenger in the Legacy jet. [MY NOTE: I don't know who they are referring to by "a passenger in the Legacy jet." Along with the two pilots, there were five passengers: Two employees of the Long Island air-charter company, ExcelAire, which had just purchased the plane in Brazil; two employees of Embraer, the Brazilian manufacturer; and me, a reporter on a freelance assignment who hitched a ride on the 13-seat Legacy].

After that a period will also be opened for possible requests for investigations and examinations.

There is no time set for the verdict and sentencing of the accused.

This week, the controllers who were working in Cindacta 1, in Brasilia, on the day of the accident – Jomarcelo Fernandes dos Santos, Lucivando Tibúrcio de Alencar, Leandro José Santos de Barros and Felipe Santos dos Reis - testified in Sinop. Judge Murilo Mendes questioned the four on the acts that appear in the indictment presented by the Federal Prosecutors' Office and which may have contributed to the accident, in which the 154 passengers and crew died.

Americans Joseph Lepore and Jan Paladino, who were piloting the Legacy jet, which was involved in the collision with the Gol Boeing, did not appear. The lawyers asked that they be heard in the USA, but the request was denied by Murilo Mendes who determined that the trial would continue without their presence.

Before the 12th, the Federal Court should send the transcript of the hearings to the parts involved, so that they can manifest themselves and object to items with which they disagree. "


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