War crimes suspect accused of bribing witnesses
BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A Vermont man accused of committing war crimes in his native Bosnia 21 years ago is accused of trying to bribe alleged Bosnian witnesses.
In a motion filed last week in U.S. District Court in Vermont, the government said it has been informed by some of its witnesses that Edin Sakoc, 54, “attempted to bribe witnesses through intermediaries for testimony favorable to the defendant,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugenia Cowles and Matthew Singer, a senior federal trial attorney in Washington D.C.
The Bosnian Muslim, who lives in Burlington, is accused of lying to immigration officials when he came to the United States as a refugee in 2001 by denying that he committed any crimes in Bosnia. He’s accused of telling the same lie when he applied to become a U.S. citizen in 2007, the Burlington Free Press reported (http://bfpne.ws/1pfaYks.
Sakoc has denied the charges.
Court filings say Sakoc raped a Serbian woman, aided in the killings of two elderly women she had been caring for and burned the house where they were living.
A team of prosecutors and defense lawyers is expected to travel to Bosnia and take depositions of witnesses to the rape and killings next month.
The government has asked Judge William K. Sessions III to postpone the trip while the bribe allegation is investigated.
“The government is moving quickly on this witness tampering investigation, however, efforts are complicated by the fact that much of the alleged activity occurred overseas,” the government’s motion said.
Sakov’s federal public defender did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment Tuesday afternoon.
Information from: The Burlington Free Press, http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com