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Cablegate: Marine Case Update 07/14/06


DE RUEHML #2962 1951014
O 141014Z JUL 06




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. The trial of four Marines accused of raping a Filipino
woman continued during the week of July 14 with direct and
cross examination of the complainant as well as of the
prosecution's chief medical witness, Dr. Raquel del
Rosario-Fortun. Prosecutors established how much the
complainant drank before the alleged incident, and that she
intermittently experienced memory black-outs before, during,
and after the incident allegedly took place. In further
testimony mainly for the expected civil damages aspect of the
case, she recounted the destitution she and her family have
endured since the incident. She broke down in tears
repeatedly, causing numerous short recesses. LCpl Smith's
defense attorney Patricia Formoso successfully established
during cross examination that the complainant had re-entered
the Neptune Club after the incident and did not tell the
club's security guard working the door that night that she
had just been raped.

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2. In an incident that garnered considerable media
attention, the complainant on Monday, July 10 fell upon
re-entering the court from a recess while passing LCpl Smith.
She blamed him for tripping her and then repeatedly hit him
with her handbag until others subdued her. This took place
before Judge Pozon had entered court, yet in front of the
press that had already assembled in the gallery. None of the
defendants nor Embassy officials present nearby have any
reason to believe that LCpl Smith had indeed tripped her; she
has fallen at least once before in an unrelated incident.

3. The complainant's mother, who is expected to testify next
week regarding the emotional and financial decline of her
family apparently to bolster claims for civil damages, also
repeatedly berated the defendants in court. In another
incident that attracted media attention, a prominent Filipina
who was observing the trial berated one defendant for
allegedly laughing during the complainant's testimony.
According to our observers, this defendant was in fact joking
with his attorney about a non-trial-related issue during a
recess when the confrontation took place.

4. The prosecution's chief medical witness, Dr. Fortun,
testified that the complainant's injuries were consistent
with sexual assault and evaluated possible causes as to why
no trace of semen was found anywhere. Dr. Fortun spent much
of her testimony reading excerpts from reference materials to
bolster her interpretation. The defense questioned her
credibility, and established that she never personally
examined the complainant or the evidence, only interviewing
her before the trial began. They also focused on getting Dr.
Fortun to admit to alternative explanations for physical
contusions on the complainant.

5. The van driver Timoteo Soriano is expected to testify
again during the week of July 17. The public prosecutor has
stated that there will then be five more prosecution
witnesses, and that the prosecution would rest the case in
two weeks.

6. The Mission's working group established that Judge Pozon
can indeed render both a criminal and civil verdict at the
completion of this trial. It also agreed to provide
certified copies of the U.S.S. Essex' ship logs, per the
request of the prosecution (NOTE: The prosecution already has
copies of these logs but now want a new set certified for
unknown reasons. END NOTE). According to PAS and III MEF
officials, the defendants and their defense counsels have so
far not accepted, nor indicated an interest in accepting, any
additional requests for media interviews.

7. Mission continues to provide security, citizen services,
and other support to the Marines. Personnel from III MEF,
JUSMAG, Regional Security Office (RSO), and the Consular
Section continue to attend all court sessions. RSO remains
pleased with the extent and quality of security support
provided by the mayor's office and police department.

© Scoop Media

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