Judges are set to rule on Mr. Charles Taylor’s lawyers objection to family-links information tying their 16th witness, Mrs. Aleatha Korto Hoff, (also a Dunbar) to the Dunbar family, several of them key officials in the Taylor regime. Defense lawyers contend that the prosecution’s list of Dunbars linked to the witness and once in the service iof the accused, could compromise her testimony.
From the Court, courtesy Alpha Sesay: The witness’s testimony focused on a mobile telephone number, which a protected prosecution witness in 2008 testified, was Mr. Taylor’s mobile number when he was president of Liberia. According to Mrs. Korto, she has had this number since August 2001, having been given to her by her brother. The witness said that on a date that she could not remember, she received a call from one John Gray, who told her that her number had been called at Mr. Taylor’s trial as the former president’s number. Mr. Gray subsequently arranged for the witness to meet with Mr. Taylor’s defense lawyers.
On cross-examination, prosecution counsel Nicholas Koumjian questioned the witness about her brother Jenkins Dunbar who served as Minister in Mr. Taylor’s government, her niece Dell Dunbar who was Director of the Liberian Petroleum Refinery Cooperation, and her sister Fanny Dunbar who was Mr. Taylor’s dietician. As prosecutors attempted to present to the witness a list of persons who were alleged close associates to Mr. Taylor that contained the name of the witness’s brother(s), defense lawyers objected on the ground that the list was new evidence and its prejudicial effect outweighed its probative value. The judges reserved their judgment for tomorrow, after which prosecutors will continue the cross-examination of the witness.