Judge Orders U.S. Case Against Trifa to Proceed; No Trial Date Set

Federal Appeals Court Judge Cornelia Kennedy has dismissed several defense motions and ordered the U.S. government’s citizenship case against Rumanian Orthodox Archbishop Valerian Trifa of Grass Lake, Michigan to trial. Trifa is accused of fomenting a pogrom in Bucharest, Rumania in 1941. The U.S. charges that he concealed his ties to the fascist Rumanian Iron Guard when he entered the U.S. and when he applied for U.S. citizenship in the 1950s.

Kennedy, who had been handling the four-and-a-half-year-old case as a Federal District Court judge in Detroit, threw out defense motions to dismiss the case which were based on the claim that the U.S. had the evidence more than 20 years ago which was now being used against Trifa.

The judge ruled that there were statements to the contrary in the government’s files and explanations by Trifa which the government claims are false. She also rejected a defense challenge of the U.S. Displaced Persons Act which bars advocates of persecution from entering the U.S.

No trial date has been set, but U.S. Attorneys have asked for at least 60 days’ notice to arrange for witnesses to come from Israel and other countries. Kennedy must also decide whether to handle the case herself or turn it over to another judge. She was sworn in as an Appeals Court judge for the U.S. Sixth Circuit based in Cincinnati in early October.

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