Anatomy of a Racist Frame-Up
The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal
Appendix No. 8:
Affidavit of George Michael Newman
I, GEORGE MICHAEL NEWMAN, declare as follows:
1. If called upon to testify in this matter I could and would
attest to the following facts, of which I have personal knowledge:
2. My primary vocation is that of private legal
investigator and security professional. My business address is Tactical
Investigative Services, 110 West C St., Suite 707, San Diego, CA
92101-3909. As an avocation, I write educational articles for both government
and private sector investigators, which are routinely published in national and
local professional associations periodicals. My curriculum vitae is
attached hereto and incorporated herein by reference as EXHIBIT A.
The statements in my curriculum vitae are true and correct.
3. In mid-1995 during the course of planning a personal trip to
the Washington, DC area I was first apprised of the case involving Mumia
Abu-Jamal. Owing to extensive experience in such or similar cases, I was asked
about locating witnesses by a person to whom the case had an interest. I was
advised that then-current case-related needs dictated individuals to be
located. Contacted by counsel Leonard Weinglass, I offered to do some initial
basic searches and research pro bono on my firms relatively extensive
databases to attempt to find certain percipient individuals. I also retained
the services of a local investigator.
4. Statements were made by Weinglass about the extended length of
time since the instant offense and his inability to find an investigator who
could locate individuals from events of so many years before. That, and the
fact that my firm recently had investigated other old cases, caused
me to take an interest in terms of authoring a piece on the difficulties of
investigating aged cases.
5. Among those deemed necessary to locate was Robert Chobert.
William Billy Cook was not.
6. Upon identifying potential whereabouts for several of these
individuals I tendered that information to attorney Weinglass. I also advised
Weinglass that I was coming toward the East Coast, and asked that I be able to
conduct interviews relative to the incident. I subsequently interviewed Robert
Chobert at his residence.
7. In discussing Choberts statements with Weinglass it
became apparent that Choberts statements to me were in conflict with
earlier reports of his observations. I later telephoned Chobert in an attempt
to clarify details. During the course of that telephone conversation, Mr.
Chobert recanted the key points of his testimony at the trial of Mumia
Abu-Jamal. Chobert told me that on December 9, 1981, he had actually been
parked, in his taxi, on 13th Street, north of Locust. (This contradicted his
trial testimony that he was parked behind Officer Faulkners police car on
Locust St., east of 13th Street.) Chobert told me that he did not see anyone
standing over a prone Officer Faulkner, firing shots at the officer. Chobert
said that what actually happened was that he was sitting in his taxi when he
heard gunfire. He exited the taxi and saw a Black male standing next to a
police car that was parked on Locust, east of 13th Street. The Black male
slumped down. Chobert walked toward that area and when he got closer saw a
police officer sprawled on his back on the sidewalk and a Black male sitting
nearby. (This contradicted Choberts trial testimony that he saw Mumia
Abu-Jamal standing over a prone Officer Faulkner and firing shots at him.) I
promptly reported Choberts recantation to Leonard Weinglass.
8. Weinglass wanted to hire me/my firm to
investigate case issues, and I initially declined, focused as I was on my
existing cases and my desire to write about the case. I was therefore
subpoenaed by Weinglass to testify at the PCRA hearing, August 15, 1995. I
later learned that I was mis-characterized during the hearing as a
defense investigator, which I had not been.
9. Because of apparent glaring miscarriages of
what I knew to be standards of investigation and trial practices and
procedures, I soon shelved the article and agreed to provide my firms
services in California, and to counsel and coordinate Jamals defense team
investigators in the Philadelphia area. During the course of my sporadic
involvement in this matter I routinely retained the services of local
investigators and utilized the teams onboard investigators.
10. I was present in the courthouse at the PCRA hearing, prepared
to testify about Choberts recantation of his trial testimony. However,
Weinglass did not call me as a witness and later told me my testimony had been
unnecessary because, We got everything we needed, from
Choberts testimony. It was not until recently, when I reviewed the
transcript of Choberts PCRA testimony provided to me by Mr. Jamals
new attorneys, that I discovered that Weinglass had not questioned Chobert at
the PCRA hearing about Choberts recantation to me of his trial testimony.
11. Before and after the PCRA hearing, I requested of Leonard
Weinglass the opportunity to interview Billy Cook. I was initially
advised he had been interviewed and Weinglass was in communication with him and
did not want me talking to him. It had been my understanding that he was to
testify, and was under subpoena. I asked after the hearing as to why he was not
presented, and was told that he had disappeared.
12. I offered to try and find Cook, which was declined. I later
asked about locating and interviewing Cook, and compelling him to testify,
which was quashed by Weinglass.
13. During early reading of documentation regarding the Abu-Jamal
case, I learned of the potential role of Kenneth Freeman. Weinglass, in our
earliest contacts, advised me he had been threatened by Freemans
relative(s). Weinglass stated that he did not want me contacting people to ask
about Freeman as a result of the alleged threat, and indicated he was made
fearful by the threat. In spite of the fact that I routinely advised that
Freeman be actively investigated respecting his potential role in the death of
Officer Faulkner, Weinglass maintained that the threat he had received posed a
risk he was unwilling to take.
The foregoing is stated subject to the penalties of 18 Pa. C.S.
Section 4904 relating to unsworn falsification to authorities, is further
stated under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California, and
is executed by me on September 25, 2001, at San Diego, California.
GEORGE MICHAEL NEWMAN