Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, and border security advocate U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo.
A hearing has been scheduled in federal court on a request by Judicial Watch for access to government documents about any deals it cut with Mexico in the prosecution of two former U.S. Border Patrol agents, Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean.
As WND has reported, government documents already have disclosed the fact that Mexican consular officials were the ones who demanded a prosecution of Texas Sheriff’s Deputy Guillermo “Gilmer” Hernandez, who was brought to trial after two illegal immigrants were injured when he fired at a van that had tried to run him down.
U.S. Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, told WND at that point he “long suspected that Mexican government officials ordered the prosecution of our law enforcement agents.”
“Mexico wants to intimidate our law enforcement into leaving our border unprotected, and we now have confirmation of it in writing,” he said.
The hearing on Monday, Judicial Watch said, was ordered by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon on the issue of its request for access to government documents about any deals.
Judicial Watch, a public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, wants to see records detailing the U.S. governments contacts and “deals” with the Mexican government.
The organization had filed Freedom of Information Act requests with the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department and the State Department in January, seeking records of “communications and actions by U.S. government personnel with Mexican officials concerning the prosecutions of U.S. Border Patrol Agents Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean over the shooting of Mexican drug smuggler Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila.”
That shooting happened Feb. 17, 2005, and Aldrete-Davila was given immunity from prosecution for carrying 742 pounds of marijuana into the United States in order to testify against the agents, who fired at him as he fled on foot back into Mexico.
Ramos and Compean are serving 11- and 12-year prison terms, respectively, but those penalties have generated considerable outrage, and are the subject of a series of congressional hearings that already have begun.
But the federal agencies have “failed to search for or produce responsive records,” Judicial Watch said. The organization is seeking a judge’s ruling on a deadline for the agencies to respond to the request.
The requests were filed in January, then a lawsuit was brought in March to try to pry the information loose.
Among its requests are “any/all agreements, deals, promises, settlements, grants, understandings, memoranda and/or letters granting any form of immunity to Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila” as well as permissions for him to re-enter the United States as he did.
The organization also wants “communications between DOJ and any/all officers, agencies and/or representatives of the Government of Mexico concerning Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila…”
“We are interested in learning about any deals brokered between the U.S. and Mexico following the shooting incident in 2005,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton in an announcement about the action. “Given the public and congressional controversy surrounding the case, the more the American people know about what happened, the better.”
Judicial Watch said it earlier uncovered documents that detail the chaotic and dangerous nature of the U.S. border with Mexico. Those records from the Department of Homeland Security tell of incidents of shots fired, unmarked Mexican helicopters in U.S. airspace, drug smuggling and confrontations involving Border Patrol agents and armed members of the Mexican military.
For his part, Bush has refused to promise a pardon to the agents. He said the prosecutor in the case, U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, was “a dear friend of mine” and called him a “fair guy” and “even-handed,” according to a White House transcript.
“I know this is an emotional issue, but people need to look at the facts,” Bush said. “These men were convicted by a jury of their peers after listening to the facts as my friend, Johnny Sutton, presented them. But anyway, no, I won’t make you that promise [for pardons].”