NEW YORK (Apr. 3)
Former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) investigator Anthony DeVito, a defense witness in a federal libel case by alleged Nazi was criminal Tscherim Soobzokov, has been imprisoned since March 25 because of his refusal to answer a question during his deposition.
Soobzokov is a resident of Paterson, N.J., where he is the chief of the Purchasing Department for Passaic County, On Dec, 5, 1979, the U.S. Attorney General’s Office and the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigation (OSI) served him with a denaturalization notice, accusing him of concealing his collaboration with the Waffen SS and his participation in Nazi atrocities in and around Krasnador, in the Transcaucasus.
DeVito, who retired early from INS in 1974 to protest against what he said was years of cover up by the INS on the subject of Nazi war criminals. is a witness in Soobzokov’s federal libel case against Quadrangle Books; the New York Times; CBS, Inc,; Fawcett Books; and Howard Blum, author of “Wanted: The Search for Nazi War Criminals in America.” (In Soobzokov’s state libel suit, DeVito, who is portrayed in “Wanted,” is also a defendant.)
DeVito’ was ordered remanded to the Metropolitan Correction Center in Manhattan by U.S. District Judge Gerard Goettel, of the Southern “District of New York, when he refused to answer a question posed by Michael Dennis, Soobzokov’s attorney, regarding the source of funds that enabled him to go to the Soviet Union to gather evidence about Nazi war criminals in the U.S.
DeVito, who is acting as his own attorney, refused to answer an the grounds that he had given his word never to reveal this source. He was placed under a civil contempt order by Goettel and jailed indefinitely until he answers the question. Reliable sources have indicated that DeVito may be released shortly an his own recognizance but may have to pay a fine.