Tag Archives: Gov. Chris Christie

Christie renews call for cop killer’s return from Cuba

Joanne Chesimard


Now that a friend and fellow Republican is leading the country, Gov. Chris Christie is urging the White House to demand the return of a convicted cop-killer who fled to Cuba four decades ago.

Joanne Chesimard, a leader of the Black Liberation Army, was convicted on March 25, 1977, of eight counts of murder, robbery and assault in the killing of State Trooper Werner Foerster on the New Jersey Turnpike in 1973. Six years later, in 1979, Chesimard escaped and fled to Cuba, where she has lived in political asylum since. She now goes by the name Assata Shakur.

In 2015, when then-President Barack Obama reopened relations between the United States and Cuba, there was hope that Chesimard would be returned to finish her life sentence. But she remains free today, even though the Obama administration said her return would be part of diplomatic negotiations with the communist regime.

Appearing Friday night on Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Christie said “it’s outrageous” that Chesimard lives in freedom, and he pressed the administration of President Donald Trump to fight for her extradition to the U.S.

“I hope that what the Trump Administration is going to do is, before we take any further steps with a relationship with Cuba, that they say, ‘Listen, first and foremost, return this fugitive from justice back to New Jersey so that she can rightfully serve the rest of her term for murdering a police officer,'” said Christie, a friend and supporter of Trump. “I think this is something that Secretary of State [Rex] Tillerson and others in the Trump Administration should make a top priority in any dealings they have with Cuba,” Christie added.

Christie’s interview with Carlson was brief, about five minutes. But he confirmed what many lawmakers and intelligence officials have already said over the last few weeks about Trump’s claims that Obama wiretapped his phones.

“There certainly doesn’t seem to be any evidence of that at this point,” Christie, a former federal prosecutor, said. He added, “We’ll continue to listen, but I can tell you from my experience that kind of stuff is really difficult to get.”

Christie also declined to indulge in speculation, stoked by Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, that he could end up with a job in the White House someday. His term as governor ends in January.

“Will I ever go work there? I have no idea,” Christie said. “I don’t have a crystal ball.”

Joanne Chesimard

Americans shouldn’t travel to Cuba and participate ‘in the oppression,’ Gov. Christie says


Gov. Chris Christie has been an outspoken critic of President Obama’s shift to open relations with Cuba, but now he’s taking aim at people who travel there as tourists.
The governor, speaking during his latest “Tell It Like It Is” town hall in the first presidential primary state of New Hampshire on Thursday, accused U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba amid Obama’s plans to normalize relations with the country of “participating in the oppression” imposed by Cuba’s rulers.
The line was delivered during the event and comes after Christie has criticized Obama for months over his decision to remove Cuba from the federal Department of State’s list of state sponsors of terrorism and normalize relations with the country.
And while the new rules stop short of allowing tourists to visit Cuba, they open the door on other types of authorized travel — including family visits, professional meetings, and religious activities.
“If you’re allowed to (travel to Cuba) everybody’s got to make their own free choice,” Christie said. “I’m just giving my opinion on it which is I don’t know why you would want to support that regime given the way they treat their own people.”
But Christie says people should think twice about venturing to the country that’s been off-limits for U.S. citizens for decades.
“How you as an American going to look that person in the eye who is serving you dinner or serving you a drink on the beach, when you know they can’t vote, they can’t speak, they can’t own property – and you’re going to support that?” Christie asked. “I couldn’t do it.”
He added: “Others will have to make their own choice.”
Christie referred to the new relations with Cuba as “an unacceptable offense” to the family of a fallen New Jersey state trooper whose escaped killer, Joanne Chesimard, remains at large on the island nation.
Now known as Assata Shakur, Chesimard was convicted on murder charges in the execution-style killing of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster 42 years ago this month. She later broke out of jail and escaped to Cuba, where the Cuban government employed her as an anti-American propagandist. The Cuban government has been resistant to handing over Chesimard, refusing to return her as recently as this spring.
Christie faulted what he termed Obama’s “failure to require justice” as an affront to Foerster’s family.
“The condition for which Cuba is able to join the rest of the civilized world must rest on the country’s commitment to hand over every terrorist currently being harbored, starting with Joanne Chesimard,” Christie has said.
Obama has moved to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba since December, ease the economic embargo and remove the country from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. He met Cuban leader Raul Castro on April 11 while attending the Summit of the Americas in Panama.
Bernadette Meehan, a National Security Council spokeswoman, told NJ Advance Media in January that the administration “will continue to press in our engagement with the Cuban government for the return of U.S. fugitives in Cuba to pursue justice for the victims of their crimes.”