In U.S. Trial: Banka Manneh, Alagie Barrow to Plead Guilty

By Modou Nyang, New York
Banka Manneh and Alagie Barrow, co-accused in the U.S. for plotting toAlagie BarrowBanka Manneh
overthrow the government of the Gambia, have decided to change their pleas from not guilty to guilty, authorities associated with the case confirm. Manneh, will tomorrow appear in court for his change of plea hearing, whilst Barrow’s is scheduled to take place on Monday, May 11.“A guilty plea will be offered to the judge,” said Mark D. Larsen
attorney for Banka Manneh in a telephone interview. Larsen said it is
left to the prosecution (U.S. government) to accept the plea bargain
or not. Responding to the question as to whether a change to a guilty
plea is what is in the best interest of his client, Larsen said that
it is for Manneh to say. He however said Manneh needs to agree to the
change.
Barrow’s attorney Robert D. Richman will not comment on the case
arguing about the lack of control on how authorities in the Gambia
uses the information. “We are not interested in the publicity of the
case in the Gambia,” Richman said, after verifying the purpose of the
call. “The government uses the information in a way that we cannot
control.”
Ben Petok, Director of Communications at the Minnesota U.S. District
Attorney’s office, said the prosecution will accept the change of plea
offer.  “It is the right of defendants to decide they want to change
their plea.”
Manneh and Barrow, third and second accused persons, are facing two count
conspiracy charges of violating the U.S. Neutrality Act and “use [of]
a firearm during a crime of violence,” in an attempt to overthrow the
government of the Gambia. If the court confirms their change of pleas,
they will join Papa Faal in pleading guilty to the charges against
them. Faal, who is currently awaiting sentencing after changing an
earlier not guilty plea to guilty, was together with Cherno Njie, the
first to be arraigned in relation to this case.
Njie, the first accused in this case, still maintains a not guilty
plea. His trial is due in June.