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SPECIAL TO THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL Four decades after her husband was executed by a firing squad in Cuba, a Florida woman and her four children have won a $67 million judgment against the Cuban government for his death. Pompano Beach resident Dorothy Anderson McCarthy, 80, sued the Cuban government for the death of her husband, Howard F. Anderson, who was killed in 1961 for alleged counterrevolutionary activity. [NLJ, Dec. 17, 2001.] On April 17, during the week of the 42nd anniversary of his death, a Miami-Dade County circuit judge ruled that Cuba owes McCarthy and her children $40 million in business losses and $27 million for pain and suffering. McCarthy v. Republic of Cuba, No. 01-28628 CA04 (Miami-Dade Co., Fla., Cir. Ct.). According to McCarthy’s lawyer, Scott Leeds, the Anderson family won a default judgment because Cuba failed to defend itself in court. He said the judge found that Anderson, who did not know he faced the death penalty until two days before his execution, was unjustly killed and denied due process. “I think the whole scenario shocked the conscience of the court,” Leeds said. “[Cuba] failed to provide essential guarantees that are afforded by civilized people in the free world.” Juan Hernandez Acen, representative for the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, did not return several calls seeking comment. He told the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Sun Sentinel that Anderson was justly executed, and thatAnderson was a CIA operative who aided in the Bay of Pigs invasion. According to Leeds, Anderson was a successful businessman in Cuba, owning numerous gas stations and a Jeep dealership. He said Anderson was never found with any weapons, nor found to be part of any counterrevolutionary group. The only thing Anderson did, Leeds said, was deliver a radio and a radio battery to an anti-Castro group in Cuba, but he was not working for the U.S. government. Leeds said Anderson’s wife and four children also lived in Cuba, but moved to Miami at the end of 1960 during political unrest. Shortly after, in March 1961, Anderson was arrested on counterrevolutionary charges, held in solitary confinement for two weeks and eventually tried, convicted and sentenced to death. Leeds said that a lawyer had told Anderson he faced a maximum of nine years in prison. An appeal took place that lasted less than one hour, and the following morning, Anderson was led to a firing squad. Lawyers are watching Lawyers keeping a close eye on the case say McCarthy’s chances of collecting any of the $67 million judgment will rely on the lobbying power of her lawyers, who hope to get access to millions of dollars in Cuban assets frozen in the U.S. “I think it’s a long shot, but it has happened before,” said attorney Stuart Newberger, an expert in representing American victims of state-sponsored terrorism and in securing legislation to enable victims to collect damages awarded to them. “And if her lawyers play it right, both on a congressional front and a litigation front . . . they’ve got a chance.” Newberger of Washington’s Crowell & Moring has handled dozens of terrorism cases against foreign countries-including six cases currently pending against Iran-and is representing the victims of the 1983 suicide bombing of the U.S. embassy in Beirut, Lebanon. He said collecting on a judgment turns on numerous factors. First, he said, lawyers must identify specific assets held here. Second, they have to persuade Congress and the president to agree that those identifiable frozen assets can and should be used to satisfy a judgment, “which is not an easy thing to do.” Leeds said that about $145 million in frozen Cuban assets is available for his client. He said that in 2001, President Clinton unfroze $97 million in Cuban assets to allow the families of the Brothers to the Rescue fliers, who were downed by Cuban fighter jets, to collect on a $187 million federal judgment. Baldas’ e-mail address is [email protected]

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