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State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns previously had said the U

January 9, 1997

State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns previously had said the U.S. government wants Makharadze to face trial in the United States, but he suspected the government of Georgia would not agree to waive diplomatic immunity and would opt to send the diplomat home instead.

Georgia President Eduard Shevardnadze has promised that Makharadze will be held responsible, but he did not specifically say he would agree to waive his diplomatic immunity to face possible criminal or civil charges.

The Georgian Embassy said Wednesday night it would have no comment on the prosecutor’s request.

It’s highly unusual for governments to waive such immunity, which protects diplomats around the world from prosecution under possibly unfair laws.

A car driven by Makharadze, 35, was involved in a multi-vehicle crash in Washington on Friday night that killed 16-year-old Jovianne Waltrick of nearby Kensington, Md.

At the time, police indicated speed and alcohol may have been a factor, but Makharadze was not given Breathalyzer or blood-alcohol tests because of his diplomatic status. Skid marks and witness accounts indicated his car had been traveling up to 80 mph, police said.



Associated Press Writer

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