CONTACT: Elvira Padilla 213-399-2606
PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Government Requests that Court Drop RICO Charges Against Peacemaker Alex Sanchez:
Defense reveals flaws in 2009 Grand Jury indictment
Los Angeles, California – January 15, 2013 – After a three-and-a-half-year ordeal that began in June of 2009, the government has requested that the court dismiss all the charges brought in a RICO grand jury indictment against peacemaker Alex Sanchez. According to the official filing, the government specifically reserves the right to re-indict. Alex Sanchez now awaits a court order issued by Judge Fischer that will make the dismissal final, but by all indications, a new chapter can begin for Sanchez, his family and supporters. A press conference will be held on January 16 after court hearing.
Most of all Sanchez is relieved that his name will be cleared and he can begin to rebuild his life. Sanchez and his attorney Amy Jacks released the following statement. “We applaud the government for conscientiously re-evaluating the case and recognizing that the evidence it presented to the grand jury does not support the charges brought against Alex. This has been a long time coming but the government has now made the right decision by recommending dismissal of the case against Alex. If the court grants the government’s motion, Alex can focus on what he has done so well for many years: helping our community with gang intervention and prevention and promoting peaceful solutions to our conflicts.”
History. On June 24, 2009, internationally recognized human rights defender and peacemaker Alex Sanchez was erroneously named in a 66-page federal indictment, charging him and twenty-three others under the RICO Act, with being active members of the Mara Salvatrucha gang and alleging criminal acts of conspiracy.
Alex Sanchez was denied bail twice, first by Magistrate Judge Alicia Rosenberg in June 2009 and by Judge Manuel Real in October 2009. As guarantee that Alex did not pose a flight risk or danger to his community, the court was presented with overwhelming support from the community: more than $2.5 million in sureties of affidavit and property deeds and hundreds of letters testifying to Alexʼs character from local residents, prominent academics, civic and community leaders, law enforcement and peace workers. Alex Sanchez remained imprisoned for over 6 months. His legal team then led by Kerry Bensinger appealed the October 2009 ruling to the Ninth Circuit and they ordered Judge Real to reopen the bail hearing and make his decision based on “findings of fact.” Alex was granted bail on January 13th, 2010.
Supporters always maintained that Alex should not be on trial to begin with. The public outcry against his indictment led to We Are Alex organizing chapters to open across the country to bring attention to his case and important work.
WHAT/WHO: Press Conference with peacemaker Alex Sanchez, his attorney and supporters
WHEN: Wednesday, January 16th 8:30 a.m.
WHERE: Roybal Federal Building 8th Floor
255 East Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 894-1565 or (213) 894-2215