Michael Withey

BREAKING NEWS: Domingo/Viernes murder case reopened

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About Michael Withey

Michael Withey, in front of a wall of plants

I am a Seattle-based human rights lawyer who has made a career representing the “little guy” against powerful interests to protect constitutional rights, civil rights, and human rights for the past 45 years. I was a crusading lawyer when my best friends, Gene and Silme were murdered in June of 1981. I dropped out of law practice for 2 and ½ years to pursue justice in their case and wore a bullet proof vest and carried a firearm for self-defense. When asked why I took on the cause of justice I said: “They killed my friends.” In some ways it was that simple. But it wasn’t easy.

Little did I know that the pursuit of justice and our investigation would take me to the canneries in Alaska, the Philippines after its dictator Ferdinand Marcos was thrown out of office, uncovering the secret files of U.S. intelligence agencies and eventually to a federal courtroom in Seattle to put Marcos on trial.


An incredible true story that reads like an international crime thriller peopled with assassins, political activists, shady FBI informants, murdered witnesses, a tenacious attorney, and a murderous foreign dictator.

Gene Viernes Photo Silme Domingo Photo

On June 1, 1981, two young activists, Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes, were murdered in Seattle in what was made to appear like a gang slaying. But the victims’ families and friends suspected they were considered a threat to the dictatorship of Phillippines dicatator Ferdinand Marcos and his regime’s relationship to the United States.

But how could they prove it up against such powerful, and ruthless, adversaries?

Advance Praise for Summary Execution

Headshot of Phyllis Bennis

“Withey’s book illustrates the importance of the civil justice system even in cases that begin with a criminal act. Civil remedies are especially important when state authorities are unwilling to go after higher ups due to political pressure. If not for Withey and the CJDV’s dogged combination of activism and legal work, Silme and Gene would have never gotten the full justice they deserved.”

Beth Terrell Founding member of Terrell Marshall Law Group PLLC in Seattle, and Board Treasurer of Public Justice, a non-profit legal advocacy organization

Headshot of Phyllis Bennis

“Remarkable … on one hand it is a thriller. On another, a compelling account of a historic saga … a must read for every social activist and investigative reporter. And it is timeless, especially given our current circumstances where, once again, the public is deeply concerned about foreign intervention in our politics. The story has so many twists as well – amazing turns – that prove the point that conspiracy theories aren’t necessarily fiction.”

Eric Nalder Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist

More Testimonials

Latest Updates

Movement Advisory: Domingo and Viernes Murder Case Reopened

November 12, 2018

TO:  SUPPORTERS OF OUR FBI PETITION Thanks for your support for holding the FBI accountable for its cover-up of the Domingo and Viernes murders. We are announcing exciting new developments in our ongoing search for justice which have been brought about because of your support and involvement.    DOMINGO AND VIERNES MURDER CASE REOPENED;  FBI […]

Judge Rothstein Receives WSAJ Judge of Year Award

June 12, 2018

The Honorable Barbara Rothstein received the Washington State Association of Justice’s coveted Judge of the Year Award last month at the group’s annual Law Day Celebration. Rothstein, who is now on senior status, served as the director of the Federal Judicial Center in Washington D.C.  She has had a long and distinguished career as a […]

New video showcases how the Seattle community, public interest organizations still want justice for Domingo and Viernes

May 17, 2018

More than 250 community leaders, elected officials, family and friends of slain anti-Marcos activists Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes gathered at the Seattle Labor Temple on March 20th to commemorate their lives and work. The commemoration also launched the new book, Summary Execution: The Seattle Assassinations of Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes, authored by human-rights […]


April 18, 2018

Seattle Times Publishes Investigative Story on our Justice Efforts

March 15, 2018

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