April trial date set for Haitian politician, ex-coup leader

AP News
|
Posted: Feb 07, 2017 7:21 AM

MIAMI (AP) — An April trial date has been set for a former Haitian coup leader and recent senator-elect charged in a U.S. drug trafficking case.

A federal judge set an April 3 trial date for Guy Philippe at a brief hearing Monday. Philippe previously pleaded not guilty to drug smuggling and money laundering conspiracy charges that carry a maximum life prison sentence.

Philippe was flown to the U.S. last month after his arrest in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince during a live radio show.

Supporters say the 48-year-old Philippe is innocent and blamed his arrest on political foes. Philippe was recently elected to the Haitian Senate, which they claim should give him immunity from prosecution.

A former police chief, Philippe led a 2004 uprising that ousted then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.