Americans arrested in killing of Haiti president claim they were translators: judge

Americans arrested in killing of Haiti president claim they were translators: judge

Two Americans who were arrested in connection with the killing of Haiti’s president claimed they were translators for the group, according to a Haitian judge.

Judge Clément Noël said Friday the two American suspects, James J. Solages and Joseph Vincent, admitted to working as translators and plotted with the group for a month to attack Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, The New York Times reported

The two Americans said the original plan was to kidnap the president and take him to the national palace, not kill him.

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Solages admitted to yelling the attackers were U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency before the attack began. 

Solages was in the country before as a former security guard at the Canadian Embassy in Haiti. He said he found the job to translate for the group online, the judge said. 

The judge said Solages “replied in a very evasive manner” when asked questions about the larger plot, according to the New York Times.

Vincent admitted the plan was orchestrated by a man named “Mike” who spoke Spanish and English.

The attack was plotted at a hotel in Pétionville, the suspects said. Solages said he was in Haiti one month before the attack began and Vincent said he had been in the country with his cousin for six months. 

Colombians involved in the attack were in Haiti for three months, according to the men. 

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Along with the Americans, Haitian Ambassador to the U.S. Bocchit Edmond told CNN it is clear the group had help from insiders. 

“Indeed there were foreigners, but at the same time we have to recognize that they also have some help, internal help,” he said.

Six people were arrested after the attack while four were killed by Haiti’s National Police.