Ed Marger is leading a team of metro Atlanta lawyers to Haiti this weekend to meet with Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, the former president accused of looting the national treasury.
Marger, whose practice is in Jasper, said he got to know Duvalier when he became an acquaintance of Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier, the younger Duvalier’s infamous father, who ruled the poverty-stricken country from his election as president in 1957 to his death in 1971.
Marger said he has not yet been retained to represent Duvalier, 59, who returned to Haiti Sunday. He said he got to know the younger Duvalier when he was retained in 1981 to represent the brother of Duvalier’s then wife Michele. The brother had been indicted on cocaine charges in Puerto Rico.
“Baby Doc told me that his father told him that … if he had a problem with the United States to call Ed Marger to handle the problem, ” Marger said. “That was one of the nicest compliments I ever received.”
The legal team includes former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr, who is associated with Marger’s law firm, and Mike Puglise, a Gwinnett County lawyer who has worked with Marger before on high-profile cases.
Jean-Claude and Michele Duvalier left Haiti 25 years ago this February when he abandoned the presidency and flew to France. Duvalier lost most of his money in his divorce from his glamorous wife, Marger said, but still retained a reported $5.7 million frozen in a Swiss bank account belonging to a family foundation.
CNN reported a Swiss law enacted specifically to help repatriate stolen funds from failing states may help return the Duvalier money to Haiti.
Duvalier stunned the world when he returned to Haiti from his exile in France. His return allowed the country to reopen a 2008 case against him, which includes charges of human rights abuses, CNN reported.
Duvalier’s lawyer in Haiti, Reynold Georges, expressed confidence to CNN Wednesday that Haitian authorities have little evidence against his client. Duvalier, Georges said, would not only remain a free man but could decide to return to politics, CNN reported.