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HesperiaStar.com
  • STATE ASSEMBLY

    Donnelly demands release of U.S. Marine jailed in Mexico

    High Desert assemblyman plans protest, refuses Gov. Brown's invite to honor Mexican president
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  • California Assemblyman Tim Donnelly is shunning Gov. Jerry Brown’s invitation to honor Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto in Sacramento next week, and instead demanding the release of a U.S. Marine jailed in Tijuana.
    While Brown will be hosting a luncheon Aug. 26 for Nieto inside the Leland Stanford Mansion, Donnelly, R-Hesperia, insisted Tuesday he will be leading a protest outside the facility, calling for Mexican authorities to let Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi walk free after the Marine was arrested in April when he drove into the country with three legally-owned guns in his truck.
    Jill Tahmooressi, the Marine’s mother, said her son took one wrong turn in the dark and found himself in Mexico.
    Donnelly’s office on Tuesday released Donnelly’s written response rebuffing Brown’s offer.
    “I am writing to decline your luncheon invitation, and to express my deep disappointment that you would entertain the President of a nation that is holding an active-duty U.S. Marine captive,” he wrote. “How you could visit Mexico and not publicly demand the release of Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, is beyond me.”
    Brown late last month traveled to Mexico for three days of meetings to discuss immigration in separate sit-downs with Nieto and Central American diplomatic and religious leaders.
    “The relationship with Mexico, the role of those of Mexican heritage in California, is fundamental to our schools, to our well-being, and I think this trip will be productive,” Brown said ahead of the journey.
    Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Times reported attorneys for Tahmooressi and Mexican officials said a conclusion in his case could take months.
    According to Donnelly’s office, the High Desert assemblyman has taken an active role in pleading for Tahmooressi’s freedom, including sending a letter to President Barack Obama and urging the California Department of Transportation to “fix the confusing signage which resulted in Tahmooressi’s unfortunate ‘wrong turn’ into Mexico.”
    Donnelly, who lost to Neel Kashkari in June’s statewide primary for the opportunity to battle Brown in November’s gubernatorial election, says the Marine’s release is a top priority and Brown missed out on a “great opportunity to demonstrate leadership by taking a stand for a California citizen that has put himself in harms way for our freedom.”
    — The Associated Press contributed to this report.
    Shea Johnson may be reached at 760-955-5368 or SJohnson@VVDailyPress.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DP_Shea.
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