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wkyc.com | 19Jul2011 | Dick Russ

Demjanjuk lawyers: Government lied, withheld evidence

CLEVELAND -- Lawyers for John Demjanjuk have filed an appeal, charging the U.S. Government with committing fraud and withholding evidence.

In a motion filed Tuesday, Demjanjuk's attorneys asked U.S. District Court Judge Dan Polster to set aside the court order which stripped Demjanjuk of his citizenship and allowed him to be deported to Germany where he stood trial for war crimes.

Demjanjuk was convicted in March on charges of complicity in the murder of more than 28,000 Jews at the Sobibor Nazi death camp. He was sentenced to five years in prison, with credit for the two years he had already served awaiting trial.

Demjanjuk, 91, is currently living in a German nursing home. He was released by the court pending his appeals. His family says the former Seven Hills man is in ill health, suffering from a bone marrow disease.

The motion filed Tuesday in Cleveland accuses U.S. Government prosecutors of deliberately withholding evidence that could have exonerated Demjanjuk, according to his lawyers Michael Tigar and Dennis Terez.

The so-called Rule 60 motion says prosecutors failed to turn over
to the defense a recently declassified March 4, 1985 memorandum authored by a special agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Cleveland Office.

That memo, concerning the most crucial evidence against Demjanjuk, concludes that the principal evidence in question was "quite likely fabricated" by the KGB.

Demjanjuk's attorneys say other critical evidence has been deliberately withheld by the U.S. government, including information about a second "Ivan Demjanjuk," born a year earlier and in the same town in Ukraine as John Demjanjuk.

That second Demjanjuk is said to have killed himself in 1970 or 1971 when he found out that the KGB was coming to interrogate him.

The motion filed Tuesday claims that U.S. courts determined that U.S. government prosecutors committed fraud on two previous occasions, and it calls Demjanjuk's treatment a "major miscarriage of justice, especially when there are strong indications Mr. Demjanjuk is innocent of the charges against him."

It asks that the 2002 Federal Court decision stripping him of his U.S. citizenship be set aside.