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Third suspect in assassination of Haiti president brought to US

A newly released complaint alleges that more than 20 people were involved in the plot to kidnap and assassinate Haiti's president.
Credit: AP
A man puts his name into a signature book during a ceremony in honor of late Haitian President Jovenel Moise.(AP Photo/Joseph Odelyn)

WASHINGTON — A former Haitian senator has been extradited to the United States and charged in connection with the assassination of Haiti's president, Jovenel Moïse, the Department of Justice announced. 

Joseph Joel John, 51, made his initial court appearance Monday in Miami. John is charged with one count to conspire in murder or kidnapping outside the U.S. and a count of providing supporting material to commit the conspiracy. He is the third person in U.S. custody to be charged in the U.S. for his role in the assassination plot.

If convicted, John faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Colombian citizen Mario Antonio Palacios and Haitian-Chilean citizen Rodolphe Jaar are the other two men who currently face charges in the U.S. in relation to the plot. Palacios pleaded not guilty to his charges in April.

As alleged in a newly unsealed complaint, John reportedly helped to obtain vehicles and attempted to obtain firearms to support the plot. 

It is also alleged that John attended a meeting with certain co-conspirators on or about July 6, 2021, after which many of the co-conspirators embarked on the mission to kill Moïse on July 7. John was present when a former judge signed off on a warrant to provide further assistance in detaining Moïse and providing legal immunity for such actions, the complaint alleges. 

The DOJ has identified approximately 20 Colombian citizens and a number of dual Haitian-American citizens who participated in the plot to kidnap and kill Moïse, according to the complaint. The department added that it appears the plot was originally focused on simply kidnapping and arresting Moïse, but participants ultimately changed their tactics to kill the president. 

The department has not publicly indicated a motive for the murder, but a New York Times investigation suggests that the conspirators were looking for a list of alleged drug traffickers and assistants that Moïse was scheduled to publicly reveal.


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