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Haiti Judge: Americans Admit to Plotting

Men claim to have been translators for assassins
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2021 4:40 PM CDT

(Newser) – A judge in Haiti said Friday that the two Americans arrested after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse told him they served as translators for the conspirators. Judge Clément Noël said he interviewed James Solages and Joseph Vincent shortly after they were taken into custody, the New York Times reports. They said their only job was translating, though they admitted to meeting with other plotters at a hotel to plan the raid. The planning picked up in the past month, the judge said. Noël said the two had weapons and other items used in the crime on them when they were arrested after a shootout with police. He said Solages and Vincent said the plan was to take Moïse to the national palace, not to kill him. Neither of the Americans was hurt in the shoutout, the judge said. Moïse was shot to death at home early Wednesday; Solages and Vincent said they were not in the room when he was killed.

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Government officials said they've asked the US for troops. With the situation in the streets becoming more chaotic, the government wants to ensure infrastructure such as airports, gasoline reserves and ports are guarded. The US State Department did not confirm the request, but the White House said FBI and Homeland Security officials will be going to Haiti to assess the situation. There's a power void in the country now, per CNN, without a sitting parliament and with two leaders claiming to be prime minister. Ariel Henry was about to ascend to the post, replacing Claude Joseph. He said in an interview that "Claude Joseph is not prime minister, he is part of my government." A leading judge said the order of succession is unclear. After Moïse repeatedly failed to hold national and local elections, many offices up and down government—including the parliament—are vacant. (Read more Haiti stories.)

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