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Lawyers Seek Deposition from Zimbabwe President Mugabe in Lobbying Case

Source: Chicago Tribune

C. Gregory Turner. Source: Chicago Tribune

Lawyers for a Chicago man charged with illegally lobbying on behalf of the oppressive regime of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe are asking a federal judge for permission to take a videotaped deposition of Mugabe when he’s in New York for a United Nations conference this month.

C. Gregory Turner, 71, faces trial on charges he tried to persuade U.S. government officials — including an Illinois state senator and two U.S. representatives from Chicago — to push for the lifting of sanctions imposed in 2003 on Mugabe and other top Zimbabwe government officials.

In a filing Thursday, Turner’s attorney, Michael Leonard, asked U.S. District Judge Elaine Bucklo for permission to take a sworn deposition of Mugabe when he is in New York for a U.N. summit Sept. 23-24.

The deposition is necessary because Mugabe is “absolutely central” to the allegations against Turner, the filing said. But as a citizen of Zimbabwe, Mugabe is not subject to the subpoena powers of the court.

“One of the primary bases for the government’s prosecution of Mr. Turner in this case is its allegation that Mr. Turner specifically acted for and at the direction of Mr. Mugabe,” the filing said. “… If the government is truly interested in the pursuit of justice, it should welcome Mr. Mugabe’s videotaped testimony.”

The charges brought by federal prosecutors in Chicago allege Turner and co-defendant Prince Asiel Ben Israel had reached a consulting deal with the Zimbabwe officials to be paid $3.4 million for their efforts. Prosecutors allege the two told Zimbabwe officials in November 2008 that they knew many politicians with close ties to President-elect Barack Obama.

The charges do not name any of the politicians, but details included in the charges made it clear that among the lawmakers the two dealt with were then-state Sen. Donne Trotter, D-Chicago, as well as U.S. Reps. Danny Davis and Bobby Rush, both Chicago Democrats. None of the public officials was accused of wrongdoing.




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3 thoughts on “Lawyers Seek Deposition from Zimbabwe President Mugabe in Lobbying Case

  1. So he was lobbying, exactly what is wrong with that? NRA, Pharmaceutical, agricultural companies etc… don't they do the same thing? Is it now illegal,are they going to change the rules? Maybe it has to do with President Mugabe stand against homosexuality – Homosexuals are big lobbyist too!

  2. Emanuel Lewis says:

    This country hates Mugabe because Tony Blair dislikes him… and why does Tony dislike him? Well, President Mugabe told Tony's Euro/African farmers who refuse to give back the Zimbabwean land their ancestors stole "We are taking the land back by force, the way you took it from us since you refuse to compensate us for it" as the Lancaster agreement outlines (an agreement between Britain and Zimbabwe to compensate white land owners for lands that should be returned to indigenous Africans.

    The U.S has next to no interests in Zimbabwe yet have decided to slap sanctions on the government officials (Bush did) to stay in sync with his buddy Tony Blair in solidarity who was having difficulty keeping those Europeans in the country on the land that did not own. Plus Mugabe speaks the truth with a sharp tongue, and is hated like Farrakhan for not apologizing for it. So, no they don't want any American lobbying for anything. I wish we all kept up on our politics in our African nations and used our American dollar to make more happen. I applaud Mr. Turner for trying. Where is Oprah, Jay-Z, Beyonce, etc with all their money to make things happen.

  3. Laura Brown says:

    Now see, that's what I appreciate. Blacks who can respond with intelligent observations. Thank you Sister Marcia and brother Emanuel.

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