Emmanuel Constant

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Emmanuel Constant (nicknamed "Toto", born on October 27, 1956) is the founder of FRAPH, a Haitian death squad that terrorised supporters of exiled president Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

In 2001, a Haitian court convicted him in absentia and sentenced him to life in prison for his role in the Raboteau Massacre.[1] In 2008, he was convicted of mortgage fraud and sentenced to 12–37 years in prison.[2] He is currently incarcerated in a maximum security prison in New York.[3]

1991–1994[edit]

In mid-1993, two years after the 1991 Haitian coup d'état, Constant set-up a Haitian death squad known as the Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haïti (FRAPH) to terrorize supporters of exiled president Jean-Bertrand Aristide.[1] A CIA source implicated Constant in the 1993 assassination of Justice Minister Guy Malary, although the agency said the source was "untested".[4]

Constant was paid by the CIA from 1992 to 1994, as were several leading members of the military junta. He provided information to the agency for about $500 a month, according to United States officials and Mr. Constant himself.[4]

1994–2005[edit]

After the 1994 U.S. and UN-led multinational occupation restored Aristide to power, Constant escaped to the U.S.. He was detained by INS officials in 1995 and prepared to be deported to Haïti to stand trial for involvement in the Raboteau Massacre.[1] However, in a December 1995 interview with Ed Bradley on 60 Minutes, Constant threatened to divulge secrets about his relationship with the CIA during the early '90s. In May 1996, after receiving Constant's threat, and intelligence that there was a plot to assassinate him should he return to Haïti, the Clinton administration ordered the INS to release Constant.

In 2001, Constant was convicted in absentia of his role in the Raboteau Massacre and sentenced to life in prison and hard labor.[1]

2006–present[edit]

On July 7, 2006, Constant appeared in a Long Island, New York county court to face charges that he participated in a mortgage scheme that defrauded Sun Trust Mortgage Bank and Fremont Investment and Loan of more than $1 million. The purported fraud took place while Constant was employed at Melville Brokerage.[5]

Notwithstanding pending rape charges, state Supreme Court Justice Michael Mullen at arraignment set bail for Constant at $50,000, despite the protest of prosecutors and human rights groups.

In October 2006, a Federal Court in New York ordered Constant to pay three women raped by FRAPH a total of $19 million in damages, in a case brought by the Center for Justice & Accountability.[6] The court declared that "Constant’s conduct was clearly malicious. As commander of FRAPH, Constant founded and oversaw an organization that was dedicated principally towards terrorizing and torturing political opponents of the military regime. His direction – or at a minimum, approval – of FRAPH’s state-backed campaign of violence constitutes an inexcusable violation of international law and merits a stiff punishment."[7]

On July 25, 2008, after hearing two weeks of testimony, a Brooklyn jury convicted Constant of several mortgage fraud felonies, including Scheme to Defraud and Grand Larceny. The convictions came within hours of a vigorous confrontation between Constant, who testified in his own defense, and Assistant Attorney General Thomas Schellhammer, who cross-examined him.[8][9]

On October 28, 2008, Judge Abraham Gerges of the Kings County Supreme Court sentenced Constant to serve 12–37 years in prison.[2] Judge Gerges concluded his memorandum with a plea that the United States government allow Constant to serve his entire sentence in New York State, rather than return him to Haiti "where he may evade justice due to the instability of the Haitian judicial system." Judge Gerges noted that "it is apparent that the federal authorities may deport him shortly."[2]

Toto appears as an interviewee in The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson. Ronson claims that Toto is psychopathic according to Robert D. Hare's Psychopathy Checklist.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d David Grann, The Atlantic Monthly, July 2001, Giving "The Devil" His Due.
  2. ^ a b c Sentencing Memorandum, 28 October 2008.
  3. ^ NYS Department of Correctional Services Inmate Information. As of February 3, 2011, Constant was in custody at the Coxsackie Correctional Facility.
  4. ^ a b Tim Weiner, New York Times, 13 October 1996, '93 Report By C.I.A. Tied Haiti Agent To Slaying.
  5. ^ New York Times, 7 July 2006, Infamous Haitian Accused of Fraud.
  6. ^ The Center for Justice & Accountability, Case Summary, Doe v. Constant.
  7. ^ U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, 24 October 2006, Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, page 12.
  8. ^ Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 25 July 2008, Haitian Paramilitary Leader’s Trial Ends in Brooklyn.
  9. ^ Scott Shifrel, NY Daily News, 25 July 2008, Haitian paramilitary leader Emmanuel Constant convicted of fraud.