Exclusive: Leaked documents reveal death threats, roadblocks in Haiti assassination investigation

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By Caitlin Hu, Matt Rivers, Etant Dupain and Natalie Gallón, CNN
Photos and video by David von Blohn.

Updated 0347 GMT (1147 HKT) July 27, 2021

Port-au-Prince, Haiti (CNN)There was nary mistaking the meaning successful past week's anonymous substance message: Do what we accidental oregon die.

"Hey clerk, get acceptable for a slug successful your head, they gave you an bid and you support connected doing shit," work the July 16 text, 1 of respective decease threats sent to tribunal clerks assisting Haiti's probe into the execution of erstwhile President Jovenel Moise, according to authoritative complaints filed with Haitian constabulary and seen by CNN.

They're portion of a cache of Internal Justice Ministry documents obtained exclusively by CNN, which uncover antecedently unheard testimonies from cardinal suspects, mysterious attempts to power the probe, and the acute information felt by judicial investigators arsenic they effort to uncover who killed the president connected July 7.

Death threats are not the lone happening making Haitian investigators' jobs much difficult. Multiple sources person besides described to CNN a bid of antithetic roadblocks thrown astatine investigators, including trouble successful accessing transgression scenes, witnesses and evidence.

The effect is an probe that has repeatedly veered from established protocol, according to some insiders and autarkic ineligible experts. The question is why?

Death threats and unusual requests

Multiple Haitian officials person received decease threats since their probe began 2 weeks ago, documents show.

Carl Henry Destin, the justness of the bid who officially documented Moise's ravaged location and assemblage hours aft his shooting, went into hiding conscionable 2 days later. "As I americium talking to you now, I americium not home. I person to spell into hiding determination faraway to speech with you," Destin told CNN, describing successful rapid-fire French the aggregate threatening telephone calls helium had received from chartless callers.

Clerks that enactment with Destin and different investigative justices person besides been targeted, according to documents obtained by CNN. On July 12, the National Association of Haitian Clerks published an unfastened letter calling for "national and international" attraction to decease threats received by 2 section clerks, Marcelin Valentin and Waky Philostene. The missive demands enactment from Justice Minister Rockefeller Vincent to warrant their safety.

Valentin and Philostene did not respond to requests for remark astir the letter.

More than a week later, documents from the Justice Ministry connection small grounds that specified concerns were taken seriously, showing that clerks went connected to personally lodge ceremonial complaints connected July 17 and 20 astir receiving decease threats -- from the aforesaid telephone number.

Particularly unsettling is the timing of threats, which whitethorn suggest insider cognition of investigators' movements.

Documents amusement that Valentin received an intimidating telephone telephone connected July 9, portion helium was connected a occupation documenting 2 corpses of suspects successful the assassination. According to the authoritative ailment log, the caller demanded accusation astir the probe and threatened Valentin with decease if helium refused to adhd definite names to his study oregon to modify witnesser statements. The ailment doesn't item the names oregon statements.

The adjacent week, according to the aforesaid complaint, Valentin received a substance message:

"I spot you support going connected searches successful the president's case, they told you to instrumentality retired 2 names and you refuse. I americium calling you and you garbage but I cognize your each move."

Reached for remark connected Monday, the authoritative successful complaint of the case, Bedford Claude, told CNN, "Everybody receives threats" -- including himself. He added that helium would enactment connected arranging much information for investigators.

Neither the Justice Minister nor the Haitian National Police responded to CNN's requests for comment.

Barred from the transgression scene

Mural of Moise extracurricular  his residence successful  Port au Prince

Official revelations astir Haiti's probe into Moise's brutal assassination still don't rather adhd up.

There are evident holes successful the accusation provided to the public, including the still-unknown contents of CCTV footage from the president's residence connected the nighttime of the killing, and the testimonies of implicit 20 detained overseas suspects and 2 twelve section constabulary officers.

It present appears that adjacent Haitian investigators charged with bringing the information to airy are being near successful the dark.

At transgression scenes successful Haiti, constabulary typically unafraid the country and support order, portion justices of the bid execute the archetypal investigation, papers the country and instrumentality witnesser grounds to make the authoritative grounds of evidence. But sources adjacent to the probe person described confusing lapses successful protocol that resulted successful the omission of cardinal pieces of accusation from specified judicial investigators' reports.

Sources told CNN that judicial investigators were fixed the run-around connected aggregate occasions erstwhile they attempted to ticker the CCTV footage, which is held by police.

Fear stalks Haitians arsenic  their murdered president   is buried and gangs terrorize the capital

Destin besides said helium and others were not instantly allowed to participate the site wherever Moise was attacked at astir 1am. Despite his captious relation successful documenting the scene, the justness was barred from entering the constabulary perimeter for hours -- a highly antithetic hold that insiders accidental raises the specter of grounds tampering.

"Police informed maine that the country was not yet cleared to let (me) to travel to the country to cod evidence," helium told CNN. "I had to hold until 10:00am At that time, they past informed maine that the constabulary were connected the country and that we could present entree the statesmanlike residence."

According to Destin, constabulary explained that the attackers were inactive adjacent and posed a imaginable danger.

But sources accidental the justice and his squad were made to hold conscionable extracurricular the president's residence -- wherever they would person been conscionable arsenic exposed to accidental encounters with assassins connected the run.

"I've ne'er heard of anybody impeding a justice and their clerks from going into a transgression scene," said Brian Concannon, an adept successful the Haitian ineligible system.

"I conjecture it's conceivably imaginable that if constabulary felt a weaponry was going to spell off, I conjecture they would person the close to cordon disconnected everything. But successful presumption of however that's expected to enactment ... Both justice and constabulary are trusted with doing the aforesaid thing, responding to the transgression scene," helium said.

Meanwhile, sources archer CNN that FBI agents who visited the statesmanlike residence a fewer days aft the assassination were amazed to find an abundance of grounds near determination by Haitian police, and wondered wherefore it hadn't already been collected.

Special agents collected the further evidence, and sources accidental Haitian authorities person allowed them continual entree to it.

Missing witnesses

The office  of Haiti's judicial police, wherever  cardinal  suspects and grounds  are being held.

Things lone got alien wrong the statesmanlike residence, wherever aggregate sources adjacent to the probe corroborate that statesmanlike guards -- perchance cardinal witnesses successful the sidesplitting -- were removed oregon allowed to permission the premises earlier they could beryllium interviewed.

"When I got to the president's house, determination was nary constabulary serviceman successful the information booth arsenic was ever the case. Once I identified myself arsenic the judge, past came immoderate agents without due recognition and due insignia. They looked similar they were constabulary officers, but I cannot archer you precisely who they were," Destin said.

The fewer witnesses who were disposable had not seen the archetypal confrontation with the president's assassins. According to a study seen by CNN, Destin was capable to interrogation Jean Laguel Civil, main coordinator of statesmanlike security.

"President Jovenel Moise called maine astir 1am to archer maine helium heard a batch of weapon shots extracurricular of his residence and requested help. I instantly called Dimitri Herard, main of (palace security) USGPN and (security authoritative Paul Eddy) Amazan, who mobilized their troops quickly.

"They told maine the roadworthy was blocked and they couldn't marque it to the president's house. Dimitri told maine each the guards couldn't marque it there. I was connected my mode down from my location ... but a radical of mercenaries who were coming from the president's location stopped me. Luckily they didn't bash maine immoderate harm," reads portion of Civil's connection successful the report.

Civil was arrested connected Monday, Bedford Claude, the authoritative successful the case, told CNN connected Tuesday.

The study besides shows that the president's daughter, Jomarly Moise, gave a connection to the justness contempt the terrifying acquisition she had conscionable lived done and the melodramatic nonaccomplishment of her father.

Absent nevertheless were the galore information guards sworn to support the president, who had been astatine the location during the attack.

"I was informed that nary of those who were determination connected the nighttime of the sidesplitting was present," Destin told CNN. "I did not person a accidental to speech with anybody who was connected the country during the attack."

Twenty-four constabulary officers are presently nether administrative investigation, according to Haiti Police Chief Leon Charles, and respective information chiefs person been detained. But much than 2 weeks aft the killing, the clerks and judges liable for processing grounds inactive person not heard from them.

Claude says helium is satisfied with the enactment of the constabulary and that they worked intimately together. However, adjacent helium has not heard the grounds of immoderate constabulary stationed astatine the statesmanlike residence during the nighttime of the attack, helium told CNN.

"The Central Direction of the Judicial Police person (heard their testimony). For myself, I person asked the DCPJ to bring them present truthful that I tin perceive it," Claude said.

The authoritative declined to reply whether helium had seen the CCTV footage from wrong the residence.

Bodies moved

Sources adjacent to the probe besides archer CNN that they person doubts astir whether close protocol has been followed successful the processing of grounds and handling of transgression scenes.

Justice Ministry documents dated July 8 amusement that judicial officers were summoned to papers 2 suspects' corpses extracurricular a constabulary presumption successful the hilly upscale vicinity of Petion-Ville, wherever the president's residence is besides located. Colombian recognition cards for Mauricio Javier Romero and Giraldo Duberney Capador -- the second a erstwhile Colombian Army serviceman alleged to person recruited galore suspected attackers -- were recovered with the bodies.

But the corpses had been moved, aggregate sources say. As CNN has antecedently reported, respective suspects were killed successful an bare storefront astir the corner, during the constabulary pursuit aft the assassination. Several cars successful the country believed to beryllium to the attackers were also acceptable connected fire, an enactment of demolition that authorities blasted connected aggravated section residents.

Moving bodies and allowing imaginable troves of grounds to beryllium destroyed are a reddish emblem for imaginable transgression country tampering, experts and insiders say.

"There are a batch of things that don't marque consciousness successful the handling of the transgression scene. Cars were burned ... those are the benignant of things that look inconsistent with trying to find retired the nonstop truth," said Concannon.

"Investigators should question whoever was progressive successful changing the transgression country to found if they had bully crushed to marque those changes," helium added.

The Port-au-Prince thoroughfare  wherever  investigators examined bodies seemingly  belonging to Colombians Mauricio Javier Romero and Giraldo Duberney Capador.

Wounds recovered connected Romero's assemblage besides rise questions astir however helium was killed -- investigators recovered a slug coiled successful the backmost of his head, according to the report.

In the aforesaid report, investigators took statements from James Solages and Joseph Vincent, 2 US citizens alleged to beryllium conspirators successful the assassination plot, whose versions of events person not been made nationalist until now.

"I turned myself successful to the constabulary due to the fact that I americium conscionable a translator. I lone knew there's a warrant against the president, I was determination to translate. The ngo was to instrumentality him and bring him to the nationalist palace, my relation was to enactment successful the car. I was the 1 with the megaphone that you saw connected the videos with my colleagues you spot present astatine the constabulary station. I was the 1 telling the constabulary to not shoot. We are 26 oregon 27 guys... I recovered the occupation connected the net due to the fact that I talk French, English and Spanish," reads Solages' statement.

According to the report, Vincent told investigators that helium was besides a translator, and that the suspected attackers carried a papers that appeared to beryllium an apprehension warrant for the president.

In different statement, Vincent described being told by erstwhile Haitian justness authoritative Joseph Badio to permission the location of different man, Rudolphe Jaar, connected the nighttime of the attack, and to caput for the president's backstage residence:

"It was 1 americium erstwhile Badio called america and told america the president is location watching shot and we headed there. When we got there, it was Solages who took the megaphone to archer the presidents defender to not shoot; helium screamed "This is simply a DEA operation," and the radical astatine the president's residence started to shoot. We were 28 and the Colombians manage[d] to get wrong the house. I hid determination and aft a infinitesimal I heard Colonel Mike telephone idiosyncratic connected the telephone and said the president is dead."

Jaar and Badio are some wanted by Haitian police. The individuality and nationality of "Colonel Mike" is unclear.

Masterminds inactive astatine large

With truthful overmuch astir the assassination and its probe inactive unknown, what whitethorn beryllium astir striking is however small Haiti's judicial investigators person been allowed to larn astir the precise lawsuit they are charged with handling.

Any anticipation that Haitian constabulary are withholding accusation from investigators could rise concerns of a struggle of interest, astatine a clip erstwhile dozens of constabulary officers and information chiefs are nether suspicion for ties to the case. Yet nary of CNN's sources person made immoderate circumstantial accusations arsenic to who mightiness beryllium liable for the aggregate breaches successful protocol.

Haiti assassination suspects hold   successful  limbo, with household  members near  successful  the dark

Haitian ineligible adept and erstwhile justice Jean Senat Fleury tells CNN helium fears galore much ineligible norms person been breached successful the people of the existent investigation.

Haiti's constitution forbids interrogating witnesses without an lawyer oregon witnesser of their choice, and requires that an autarkic justice regularisation connected the legality of immoderate suspect's detention for much than 48 hours.

More than 2 weeks aft the assassination, there has been nary nationalist announcement of ceremonial charges against immoderate suspects successful the case, and constabulary person repeatedly declined to remark connected whether the detained person entree to ineligible representation.

It is imaginable that elemental neglect oregon disorganization successful Haiti's underfunded justness system, which inactive mostly relies connected a insubstantial filing system, person been the existent hindrances to the probe truthful far.

"To person an probe wherever things look similar they should beryllium obvious, similar the contents of the surveillance footage ... is that due to the fact that of the systemic dysfunction oregon is that due to the fact that idiosyncratic didn't privation this happening to beryllium publically known? The strategy makes it precise hard for you to cognize which it is," said Concannon.

But uncertainty astir the probe is feeding fears of acheronian and mysterious forces successful a metropolis wherever kidnapping and pack unit already endanger regular life. If the masterminds down the execution of the astir almighty antheral successful the state cannot beryllium brought to justice, tin anyone?

"The birds of prey are inactive moving the streets, their bloody claws inactive looking for prey," First Lady Martine Moise told mourners astatine her husband's ceremonial connected Friday, successful evident notation to her husband's killers. Moise herself lone precocious returned aft receiving attraction successful Miami for injuries sustained successful the onslaught -- accompanied by US information guards, CNN sources say.

    "They don't adjacent hide," she continued, facing Haiti's assembled governmental elite. "They are here, they conscionable ticker us, perceive to us, hoping to scare us."

    Reporting contributed by CNN's Evan Perez successful Washington.

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