In a nice little scooplet, the Washington Post‘s Del Quentin Wilber is reporting that a key suspect in the taxicab scandal threatened to kill an informant. The allegations revolve around one Yitbarek Syume, who was arrested last week as part of the feds’ roundup of taxi workers who sought to illegally influence the District’s regulation of the industry.
Here’s how Wilber phrases the matter:
The [court] papers reveal that Yitbarek Syume met with an undercover FBI agent and an informant on the day after the top staffer of a prominent D.C. Council member was arrested on bribery charges. The three men discussed the high-profile arrest and how to avoid detection of their scheme, which funneled more than $300,000 to a D.C. government official, prosecutors wrote in court papers, citing a surreptitious recording of the meeting.
Syume, according to the records cited by the Post, had special plans for Abdulaziz Kamus, who had been identified in a Post story as a figure who had helped authorities document taxi-related bribes. Syume promised that Kamus will be “permanently eliminated.”
In an interview with Washington City Paper, Syume’s lawyer, Thomas Abbenante, said, “We’re going to have a hearing tomorrow afteronoon at 3. At that time, I’ll address the issue before the court. I’m really not going to attempt to try the case in the newspaper or the six o’clock news. I’ll leave that up to the government.”
Additional reporting by Jason Cherkis