Jury selection begins for trial of Jucontee Thomas Woewiyu
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Latest on the trial of Jucontee Thomas Woewiyu, a Liberian man accused of lying on U.S. citizenship forms about his ties to convicted war criminals (all times local):
Jury selection is under way in the federal trial of a Liberian man accused of lying on his U.S. citizenship application about his ties to convicted war criminals.
Attorneys for Jucontee Thomas Woewiyu, also known as Thomas Smith, have asked to quiz potential jurors Monday on whether they have knowledge of West African history or ties to international humanitarian causes that would prohibit them from being impartial if they hear testimony about alleged atrocities during the civil wars in Liberia.
Woewiyu is facing multiple charges related to fraud in immigration documents, including answering no when he was asked if he’d ever been involved in the overthrow of a government.
It’s the second case in recent years of former Liberian men or officials living in the Philadelphia area charged with immigration fraud related to their failure to disclose their roles in the Liberian civil wars.
Mohammed Jabbateh was sentenced in April to 30 years for immigration fraud
A Liberian man accused of lying on his U.S. citizenship application about his ties to convicted war criminals, including ex-Liberian President Charles Taylor, is heading to trial in federal court, just months after another man from the west African country was sentenced to prison in a similar case.
Jucontee Thomas Woewiyu, also known as Thomas Smith, is facing multiple charges Monday related to fraud in immigration documents. Woewiyu has lived in the Philadelphia area since the 1970s, commuting back and forth to Liberia.
Prosecutors allege when Woewiyu applied for citizenship in 2006, he lied about his role in civil war atrocities. A lawyer for Woewiyu didn’t return a message Friday.
Mohammed Jabbateh was sentenced in April to 30 years for immigration fraud in deceiving immigration officials about his role in Liberia’s violent war crimes.