- Associated Press - Friday, March 3, 2017

MIAMI (AP) - A former Haitian coup leader who was recently elected to that country’s Senate is seeking immunity from U.S. prosecution in a drug case.

Court documents recently filed by Guy Philippe’s attorney contend he cannot be prosecuted because he’s a foreign state official due to his Nov. 20 election to the Haitian Senate. Philippe was arrested four days before he was to officially take office on Jan. 9.

The filing says Philippe should be immune from the U.S. charges for his six-year Senate term. U.S. prosecutors say Philippe cannot use the political immunity defense.

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

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

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