- Associated Press - Friday, March 17, 2017

MIAMI (AP) - A judge has rejected an immunity claim by a former Haitian coup leader and recent senator-elect who is charged in a U.S. drug case.

The Miami federal judge ruled Friday that Guy Philippe cannot use his Nov. 20 election to the Haitian Senate to avoid prosecution in the U.S. Philippe was arrested four days before he was to officially take office on Jan. 9.

The judge also rejected Philippe’s attempt to get the charges dismissed for several reasons, including claims that he was essentially kidnapped and illegally brought to the U.S.

Philippe has pleaded not guilty to drug smuggling and money laundering conspiracy charges that carry a maximum life prison sentence. The trial is set for April 3.

Philippe led a 2004 uprising that ousted then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

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