By Jeremy Roebuck, Staff Writer @jeremyrroebuck | firstname.lastname@example.org|
The case against a Delaware County man accused of hiding his alleged past as a Liberian warlord was built on “tall tales,” scant evidence, and lies, his lawyer said Tuesday in his final pitch to the federal jury that will decide his client’s fate.
Mohammed Jabateh’s accusers, said defense attorney Gregory Pagano, were so desperate for anyone to blame for atrocities committed during the civil war that roiled their West African nation two decades ago that they framed an innocent man.
“These are tall tales of enemies settling old scores – not because they had personal experiences with him but because of what group he’s identified with,” Pagano said. “There is no greater motive than revenge.”
But prosecutors — who say Jabateh committed acts of unspeakable violence and cruelty on civilians under the nom de guerre “Jungle Jabbah,” only to escape to the United States unpunished — shot back.
“Revenge is sweet,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Linwood C. Wright. “But maybe justice is sweeter.”
That war of words concluded the unusual trial that has played out in a federal courtroom in Philadelphia over eight days – as closely followed here in the West African hair salons and groceries that line Woodland Avenue as an ocean away in Liberia’s capital of Monrovia.