Caruana Galizia murder suspect risks contempt of court over FBI testimony

Court gives defence counsel for Alfred Degiorgio deadline to set court hearing for FBI agents’ videoconference

Alfred Degiorgio (left) together with co-accused Vincent Muscat and George Degiorgio (second from right)
Alfred Degiorgio (left) together with co-accused Vincent Muscat and George Degiorgio (second from right)

Alfred Degiorgio, one of the three suspects accused of the assassination of the journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, risks losing his right to have FBI agents who worked on the murder case testify in a Constitutional case he filed, after his lawyer could not confirm whether he will make the sitting.

In July, lawyer William Cuschieri filed a Constitutional application arguing that the decision to allow the FBI to testify in the Caruana Galizia murder case was taken before the window for Degiorgio’s appeal had closed, and that arrest warrants had been executed by the police illegally.

As part of this Constitutional case, being heard before Judge Lorraine Schembri Orland, FBI agents were due to testify via video conferencing.

However, in an official communication delivered by the court usher, Judge Schembri Orland noted how Cuschieri, acting as Degiorgio’s lawyer, had failed to confirm to the court whether Degiorgio and him could make the video conference sitting with the FBI.

Despite emails being sent in this regard on 22 and 23 August, together with a reminder email on 28 August, no reply was received reply was received from Cuschieri.

Cuschieri had also failed to confirm whether he could make another court sitting related to the Constitutional case, which had its date deferred.

The court – taking into consideration the fact that the video conferencing involved testimony by the FBI who are witnesses in the case, and the fact that it is the court’s responsibility to ensure that cases proceed – notified Cuschieri that his behaviour could be considered to amount to contempt of court should he not give a suitable explanation for it.

It also ordered Cuschieri to declare, within two days from today, if he is still interested in having the FBI agents give testimony in the case, and, failing this, he will be considered to have renounced their testimony.

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