Friday, October 7, 2011

U.S. Diplomat Indicted on Domestic Battery Charges for Assault with a Dangerous Weapon

Via DOJ on October 6, 2011

WASHINGTON – Michael Makalou, 40, a State Department employee, was indicted by a federal grand jury on one count of assault with a dangerous weapon with intent to do bodily harm, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Neil H. MacBride.

The indictment was returned yesterday in the Eastern District of Virginia.  According to court documents, Makalou resided with his wife and children in Dakar, Senegal, and worked as a political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Dakar.  A publically filed affidavit alleges that on the morning of Aug. 13, 2011, an argument erupted between Makalou and his wife.  According to the affidavit, Makalou then began to physically assault his wife, which included choking her, striking her head with closed fists and stomping on her back with his feet.  As a result of the attack, Makalou’s wife suffered a concussion as well as lacerations to her gums, multiple contusions and bruising.

If convicted, Makalou faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

This case was investigated by the Diplomatic Security Service of the U.S. Department of State.  Trial Attorney Sarah Chang of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebeca H. Bellows of the Eastern District of Virginia are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

An indictment is merely a charge and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Read the original statement here.

In 2009, Mr. Makalou was listed by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime as the Director of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program (INL) for the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria. Presumably he and his family were posted in Nigeria prior to his posting in Senegal. While in Abuja, he was also nominated by the embassy to be the mission's Terrorism Finance Coordination Officer. As recently as August 10, 2011, he was listed as the Ambassadors' Special Self-Help (SSH) Program contact person for Guinea-Bissau (Bissau). I am currently unable to find a listing of him in the State Dept's org phone list or the key officers list.

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