Charged with killing his first wife, he claims it is all a US conspiracy to silence him for what he saw as a Ground Zero videographer on 9/11
Argentina's Supreme Court Monday ruled in favour murder suspect Kurt Frederick Sonnenfeld's extradition to Colorado to stand trial for the murder of his first wife, Nancy on New Year's Day 2002.
Sonnenfeld called a police dispatcher and reported that his wife had shot herself at their home. Although tests showed he had no gunpowder residue on his hands, and his fingerprints were not on the gun, found about 6 feet in front of Nancy on the floor, Sonnenfeld was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, but the case was dropped because of insufficient evidence.
Sonnenfeld travelled to Argentina in early 2003 for a two-week stay. He met and married his current wife Paula, an attorney who speaks English, Italian and Portuguese besides her native Spanish, and the couple has twin daughters.
When two former inmates who had been in jail with Sonnenfeld came forward claiming that Sonnenfeld had told them he had killed his wife and offered details about the case that had not been reported, the prosecution exercised its right to refile in 2004. Sonnenfeld was arrested in Buenos Aires on Aug. 24, 2004, by Interpol agents.
His campaign to prove that he was the victim of a U.S. plot to silence his 9/11 conspiracy theories began soon after his detention. Sonnenfeld was a videographer for the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) prior to 2002 and was one of four FEMA photographers who were given exclusive access to the World Trade Center site following the September 11 attacks in New York in 2001. In addition to the photographs and video he took on behalf of FEMA, he claims to have taken additional video footage as well as numerous photographs, some of them since published. He claims that these recorded images will provide evidence that the U.S. government had prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks.
The attacks on the World Trade Center gave them the justification they had been seeking to attack Iraq, Sonnenfeld wrote. Sonnenfeld has made appearances with Adolfo Perez Esquivel, the 1980 Nobel Peace Prize winner, whom he met while filming a documentary for French journalists. Esquivel and associates wrote an amicus brief to Argentina's Supreme Court opposing Sonnenfeld's extradition. Sonnenfeld and his new wife, Paula, are directors of a home Esquivel founded for children with HIV and AIDS.
The U.S. Justice Department had filed injunctions for his extradition which had been rejected in the past because sufficient assurances were needed from Colorado that Sonnenfeld would not be executed for the crime — an allowable exception to the extradition treaty between the nations.
The assurances were finally received in the form of a verbal note from the US Embassy in Buenos Aires. The death penalty shall not be imposed or, if imposed, it shall not be carried out.
Sonnenfeld has sought political asylum from the Argentine government. Despite the green light from the Judiciary, it is now up to the Executive to decide whether or not Sonnenfeld is to be handed over to the United States. Sonnenfeld has written a book explaining his version of the case, called El Perseguido (The Haunted).
Sonnenfeld claims he has the backing of a dozen national and international human rights groups and even some people close to Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.