Kansas Man Pleads Guilty to Making False Statements in Federal Hate Crime Investigation
WASHINGTON – Diego Martinez, 28, pleaded guilty yesterday to making false statements to the FBI during a federal hate crime investigation arising from a June 19, 2015, bias-motivated assault of three black Somali men in Dodge City, Kansas. Martinez pleaded guilty in the District of Kansas to one count of making materially false statements to the FBI during an October 2015 voluntary interview.
During the plea hearing, Martinez admitted that, during the interview, he had provided the FBI with a false alibi for the time of the assault—specifically, that although he had told the FBI that he had been with an unknown woman at the time that the Somali men were attacked, this alibi was false. He further admitted that he falsely told the FBI that his cell phone had stopped working shortly after the assault, when, in fact, Martinez had used his phone to contact, and to attempt to contact, one of the men who perpetrated the attack. Martinez admitted that he knew these statements were false at the time he made them to the FBI, and that they were material to the FBI’s investigation into the attack.
“Hate violence not only harms individuals but also threatens the diversity of our society and the well-being of our communities,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will continue to vigorously prosecute hate crimes, and to pursue defendants who, like Mr. Martinez, obstruct the investigations into those crimes.”
Martinez will be sentenced on June 1, 2017, and faces a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Garden City Resident Agency with assistance from the Dodge City Police and the Ford County, Kansas, Sheriff’s Departments. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Risa Berkower and Special Litigation Counsel Jared Fishman of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section, with assistance from Assistant U.S. Attorney Mona Furst of the District of Kansas.