Michael Withey

In a major break in our 39 year struggle for justice, distinguished former Special Agent in Charge Kathy Leodler provided a report to the federal court detailing the FBI’s miscarriage of justice in its investigation of the murders of Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes.

Leodler’s declaration was submitted as part of our lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain long-secret documents related to the FBI’s handling of its informant, Levane Forsythe, an eyewitness who later perjured himself by claiming Silme did not know who shot him. According to Leodler, Forsythe was well known to the Seattle FBI for at least 10 years before he appeared at the scene of the murders.

SA Leodler reviewed the heavily redacted FBI files on Forsythe and determined that the FBI was negligent and violated its own operating procedures by not interrogating Forsythe about his perjured testimony at the trial of the hitmen.

It is in the public interest for the FBI to disclose the names of the agents involved. The FBI argument that the agents deserve their personal privacy is outweighed.

Leodler concludes:

“Since the ultimate goal is to obtain justice and seek the truth in these murders, the FBI had a solemn duty to act in good faith on behalf of the deceased victims Domingo and Viernes, and certainly not to protect Forsythe or the FBI.  The FBI Seattle should have questioned Forsythe further as to how and why he came to be at the murder scene on June 1, 1981, and who possibly sent him there and/or to testify at the criminal trial in September 1981.  Such an endeavor had a decent chance of peeling back the layers of this murder conspiracy, which ultimately led to the regime of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos as well as his accomplice Tony Baruso.”

It was established in federal court that the murders were committed as part of a conspiracy by the Marcos regime to use violence to operate against the anti-Marcos movement in the US.  We also proved that this operation was carried out with the full knowledge of the FBI, who was itself spying on this same movement, including SIlme Domingo and Gene Viernes.

The FOIA case is set for trial before federal judge John Coughenour, who is expected to rule on the parties cross motions for summary judgment sometime in late January or February.

Stay tuned!