- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 30, 2002

DETROIT (AP) The federal probe into Teamsters President James R. Hoffa's 1975 disappearance was active as recently as two months ago, but investigators are now ruling out federal charges and are turning the case over to local prosecutors.
John Bell, special agent in charge of the Detroit bureau, told the Detroit News on Thursday that the case was stymied because of the amount of time that has passed since Hoffa disappeared from a Detroit-area restaurant's parking lot.
"There is no viable federal prosecution at this time," he said.
Mr. Bell said he would refer the case to prosecutors in suburban Oakland County for possible state charges, the News reported yesterday.
Agent Dawn Clenney, a spokeswoman in the FBI's Detroit office, said the possibility of federal charges remains, but only if more information is uncovered.
"The FBI will continue the investigation of the Hoffa case," she said. "We will run down every lead as we have in the past. We think there is a possibility that the state can pursue charges."
On Thursday, the FBI released to the News 1,330 pages from its investigative file into the disappearance in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
Many passages were blacked out, but the documents indicate the FBI interviewed more than a dozen individuals in late 2001 and early this year, pursuing leads in Florida, Indiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Kentucky.
Investigators examined a gun in Pittsburgh and checked out every meatpacking plant in the Detroit area, the documents show. The FBI also tried to link fingerprints to people listed in its computerized database.
The bureau turned over all the 3,432 pages from its Hoffa file to U.S. District Judge Victoria A. Roberts. The judge will decide what other material, if any, from the file should be released to the public.
The case returned to the limelight in September, when the News reported that DNA evidence placed Hoffa in a car that investigators long suspected, but were unable to prove, was used in his disappearance.


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