The United States on Monday accused a former Haitian senator of plotting to kill Haitian President Jovenel Moise, the third suspect charged by the Justice Department as its investigation into the killing of the Caribbean nation halted.
John Joel Joseph, described by Haitian police as a suspect several days after the brutal murder last July, fled to Haiti by boat and was arrested in Jamaica in January for entering the country illegally. He was later extradited to the United States.
According to a US Department of Justice news release, Joseph is charged with conspiracy to commit murder or kidnapping outside the United States and providing material aid that causes death.
US prosecutors say the plot first involved kidnapping Moises, but developed into an assassination plot after the group was unable to find a plane to take him out of Haiti.
The news release said Joseph “was present when a co-conspirator … obtained the signature of a former Haitian judge on a written request for assistance to further the arrest and imprisonment of President Moises.”
She also helped acquire vehicles and firearms to help with the campaign.
The release identifies the suspect with the surname “John”, while Haitian authorities have said his last name is “Joseph”.
In January, US prosecutors filed similar charges against Haitian-Chilean dual national Rodolphe Jaar and Colombian ex-serviceman Mario Palacios, who Haitian police said was part of a five-member team that entered Moise’s bedroom. had entered to kill him.
Haiti’s judicial proceedings in the murder case have come to a halt, with four judges resigning amid complaints about death threats and concerns for their personal safety.
(Reporting by Kylie Madry and Brian Ellsworth; Additional reporting by Gessica Thomas in Port-au-Prince, Editing by Margarita Choy and Bill Burcrot)