Michael Withey

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 federal judge and is richly deserving of this award.

In 1989, Rothstein presided over the case holding Ferdinand Marcos responsible for the murders of Gene Viernes and Silme Domingo. She was an outstanding judge during this trial, allowing all parties to present their evidence freely and fairly; and properly instructing the jury in proving our civil conspiracy case against Marcos. Her role in the trial is described in chapters 35-36 of “Summary Execution: The Seattle Assassinations of Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes.”

In 1990, Rothstein found two of Ferdinand Marcos’ allies responsible to the estate of Viernes and Domino. Tony Baruso was found guilty for providing the murder weapon and $5,000 to the hit men, while Leonilo Malabed was found guilty of running Marcos’ intelligence slush fund which was used to pay for the murders.  

Her ruling stated that:

“Marcos created and controlled an intelligence operation which plotted the murders of Domingo and Viernes and that Mabuhay [intelligence slash] funds were paid to Baruso and used to perpetuate the murders.” (Summary Execution, p. 310)

The struggle for justice in this case is not over. In 1981, Terri Mast, Cindy Domingo and Mike Withey pledged to #NeverRest until all responsible for these murders are brought to justice.

Recently we discovered LeVane Forsythe was an informant for the Seattle office of the FBI at the same time the FBI was also investigating the Domingo and Viernes’ murders. Forsythe was sent to the scene of the murders to perjure himself in a failed attempt to exonerate the hit men.

We have launched a Freedom of Information Act and petition campaign to demand the FBI turn over the 1,276 pages of documents from the Seattle FBI office, name Forsythe’s control agents and open an investigation into the FBI’s obstruction of justice.