Published On: Wed, Jul 1st, 2015

Jack Warner hires top British lawyer to fight his extradition

EDWARD-FITZGERALDPORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Corruption accused Jack Warner has hired a top British lawyer to help him fight his extradition to the United States.

British media is reporting that Edward Fitzgerald Q.C confirmed he has been retained by the former FIFA vice-president as he prepares for battle with the US.

The 61-year-old Queen’s Counsel has represented Trinidad and Tobago businessman Steve Ferguson, who was indicted in 2006 in Florida for alleged corrupt practices regarding the Piarco International Airport in the twin-island republic but has successfully resisted extradition.

Also among Fitzgerald’s past clients are controversial Muslim cleric Abu Hamza, accused murderers and Irish Republican Army (IRA) prisoners.

Fitzgerald has been called to the Bar in a number of Caribbean jurisdictions, including Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

According to the Huffington Post, he is renowned for defending some of the most despised people in society. Explaining why he does so, the barrister told The Guardian in 2007 that “everyone is entitled to a fair trial”.

“It would be terrible if we stopped defending people because they’re unpopular. The legal process is an attempt to civilize our emotions of revenge. Anything that’s against lynch law seems to me to be a good thing,” Fitzgerald said.

On May 27, Warner was slapped with eight charges related to alleged corruption while he was FIFA vice-president and president of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) – including taking a US$10 million bribe to vote for South Africa to host the 2010 World Cup – after a United States investigation into the world football governing body.

A total of 14 current and former FIFA executives and sports marketing executives were named in the 47-count indictment.

Warner is currently on bail, awaiting an extradition hearing. Despite a newspaper report to the contrary earlier this week, the United States has reported that no final extradition request has been made as yet.

The US has 60 days from the date of the provisional arrest warrant, on which Warner was taken to court in Trinidad, to produce evidence to begin formal extradition proceedings.

Warner has made it clear that he is not going anywhere without a fight.

Speaking last night at a cottage meeting of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) which he leads, the former government minister said he wasn’t planning to run and hide.

“All I say to them is ‘bring it on’, and when they bring it on, it will be a long, hot summer,” Warner said.

“Jack Warner ain’t going anywhere, he ain’t going anywhere . . . I’ll be here not for five, 10 or 15 years, I will be here for a very long time,” he declared.

Warner said that despite government using taxpayers’ money to hire a British QC and five local lawyers, he was not afraid because he has the best legal team and God on his side.

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