TABLE OF CONTENTS
Guide to Letelier v. Republic of Chile Briefs, 1980-1993
On December 21, 1976, a car bomb exploded on Washington, D.C.’s Massachusetts Avenue, killing Orlando Letelier and his aide, Ronni Moffitt, and severely wounding Michael Moffitt. At the time, Letelier, the former Chilean ambassador to the United States, had been living and working in the U.S. as an exile following his release from imprisonment by the Chilean army. Investigation into the murder concluded that the attack was a politically-motivated assassination committed by nine people with close connections to Augusto Pinochet and the Chilean military regime.
Amongst the nine alleged assassins, only one, Michael Vernon Townley, was convicted on criminal murder charges. Letelier v. Republic of Chile was the subsequent attempt by Isobel Morel de Letelier and others to hold the government of the Republic of Chile accountable for punitive and compensatory damages via a default judgment granted by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Initially, the judgment allowed for an execution against the assets of the New York-based Chilean National Airline (LAN). Former University of Texas School of Law professor Michael E. Tigar was among the initially successful prosecutorial team. The appellate court reversed the decision, claiming that LAN could not be held accountable for damages, as it was a corporate entity distinct from the Chilean government that did not knowingly capitulate with the military regime’s plans for the assassination.
This collection contains legal briefs and documentation pertaining to the 1980 court case, Letelier v. Republic of Chile.
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Letelier v. Republic of Chile Briefs, Tarlton Law Library, The University of Texas at Austin.
Gift of Samuel J. Buffone and Michael E. Tigar, attorneys for plaintiffs, 1993.
Finding aid by Katy Telling, 2018.