Trial of Guyanese man accused of 9/11 fraud begins
October 5, 2003
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Guyanese Cyril Kendall of Queens, New York, still insists his son died in the World Trade Center attacks - even as prosecutors say heís a lying scam artist who ghoulishly invented the son to rip off $190,000 in relief aid.
The 54-year-old manís trial started Monday with jury selection and a prosecutor asking to introduce Kendallís rape conviction and pattern of filing fraudulent lawsuits as evidence.
ďHe consistently puts his own interest above society,Ē prosecutor Diana Florence told Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Ronald Zweibel. ďHeíll create documents when itís convenient, lie when itís convenient. He created a son.Ē
According to a report in the New York Daily News, the Richmond Hill, Queens, father of 12 swears he last saw his son Wilfred, 29, when he dropped him off for a job interview at the towers shortly before the attacks.
But after Kendall, who faces 20 years in prison if convicted, received US$190,867 in aid from Safe Horizon and the Red Cross, police accused him of lying.
Kendall told cops he didnít report his son missing until Oct. 1, 2001, because his son was here illegally.
He said he decided to seek a death certificate after hearing then Mayor Rudy Giuliani on TV promising no repercussions for reporting undocumented workers lost in the disaster.
ďHe lost his son, and now heís being terrorised again by the criminal justice system, which is saying his son didnít exist,Ē said Kendallís attorney Dawn Florio, who vowed to call witnesses to testify that the son did exist.
Kendallís wife, Doreen, backed her husbandís story Monday, saying Wilfred was a child from a previous relationship.
But Florence said the alleged scam is one of a string pulled by Kendall.
She said he filed bogus lawsuits, lied about his education and raped a minor.
Zweibel barred Florence from using Kendallís rape conviction during the trial, but he will let her bring up details of his lawsuits if he takes the stand.