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Trifa Trial May Be Next Summer

November 10, 1976
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Assistant U.S. Attorney Frederick Van Tiem believes the earliest Rumanian Archbishop Valerian Trifa will be brought to trial in U.S. District Court in Detroit will be next summer, it was reported by Alan Hitsky, news editor of The Jewish News. Van Tiem, who has just taken over the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service’s case against Trifa, which seeks to remove the prelate’s U.S. citizenship, said he expects the archbishop to give a deposition in the case in December or early January.

INS has accused Trifa of concealing his ties with the fascist Rumanian Iron Guard in World War II when the prelate immigrated to the U.S. and when he applied for citizenship. He has also been accused of leading a Bucharest pogrom in 1941. Van Tiem said the federal court for the Eastern District of Michigan has the busiest caseload in the U.S. and with new laws guaranteeing speedy trial for criminals, the most routine civil cases are taking 12-18 months to resolve.

“A case of this complexity will take longer.” Van Tiem said. The complaint against Trifa was filed in May, 1975, and Van Tiem said Trifa’s response was made in August or September. A discovery period to gather evidence followed, and Trifa was scheduled to give his deposition in the case last spring. The deposition has been delayed several times because Trifa’s attorney suffered a heart attack and Trifa reportedly suffered a slight stroke.

Van Tiem said following Trifa’s deposition there may be another delay for gathering of evidence and taking depositions from other witnesses, followed by a pre-trial examination. Following this, Judge Cornelia Kennedy could set a trial date.

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