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Haitian-American businessmen convicted of port bribery scheme get new trial

Dr. Joseph Baptiste, the chair and founder of the National Organization for the Advancement of Haitians, was convicted in a Boston court in a bribery scheme involving Haitian government officials.

Two Haitian-American businessmen convicted of conspiring to pay millions of dollars in bribes to Haitian government officials, including the aide to a prime minister, for a northwest Haiti port will be getting a new trial.

Dr. Joseph Baptiste, a Maryland dentist and retired Haitian-American U.S. Army colonel, and Roger Richard Boncy, a former Haitian ambassador-at-large, were found guilty in June by a Boston federal jury of an $84 million Haiti port bribery scheme. Jurors convicted both men of conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Travel Act. Baptiste was also convicted of conspiracy to commit money laundering and an additional Travel Act violation, while Boncy was cleared of the two counts.

Prior to his sentencing, Baptiste brought in a new attorney to review his case. Both he and Boncy eventually sought acquittals, or at the very least a new trial, based on the argument that Baptiste received ineffective counsel from his defense lawyer, Donald LaRoche. Massachusetts U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs agreed to a new trial.

It is rare for a federal trial judge to overturn a jury’s conviction and order a new trial because a defendant received ineffective assistance from his lawyer. Continue reading

Haitian Times

Haitian Times

The Haitian Times was founded in 1999 as a weekly English language newspaper based in Brooklyn, NY.The newspaper is widely regarded as the most authoritative voice for Haitian Diaspora.
Haitian Times
Mar. 12, 2020

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