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Saturday, Jun 23, 2018
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Dad of shot Chechen to meet with U.S. attorney in Tampa

The father of a Chechen man shot to death by an FBI agent during questioning about a Boston Marathon bombing suspect cried and showed photos of his son as a youth when he met with an Orlando prosecutor on Tuesday, his attorneys said.

The closed door-meeting between State Attorney Jeff Ashton and the father of Ibragim Todashev lasted about an hour and left Abdulbaki Todashev, the father, and his legal team “very satisfied,” said Clearwater’s Eric Ludin, one of the attorneys. Abdulbaki Todashev had come to Central Florida from Chechnya to find out what happened.

Ibragim Todashev, 27, was killed in May while FBI agents and police from Massachusetts and Florida questioned him at his Orlando apartment about his friendship with suspected Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Officials originally said the Chechen man lunged at an agent with a knife. They later said it was no longer clear what happened.

“He has faith in the justice system in our country, and he has hope that justice will be served,” said attorney Hassan Shibly, the Tampa executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Florida, a civil rights and legal organization.

Ashton has agreed to review the circumstances that led to Todashev’s fatal shooting.

“The State Attorney explained at this meeting that there is no specific timeline or deadline for his review to be completed but that he personally would make whatever decision he felt was appropriate and just under the circumstances,” Ashton’s office said in a statement.

FBI spokesman Paul Bresson in Washington said he couldn’t comment while a review is going on.

Abdulbaki Todashev will have another chance to champion an investigation into his son’s death when he meets with the U.S. attorney in Tampa. Lee Bentley has agreed to meet with Abdulbaki Todashev on Wednesday, Shibly said.

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Tampa didn’t respond to an email. The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating what happened, in addition to Ashton’s review.

Todashev’s lawyers say there was no indication Todashev had any weapons available while he was being questioned, and that they’re going to wait until the criminal investigation before deciding whether to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.

While a federal investigation would look into whether Todashev’s civil rights were violated as well as whether use of force laws, the state investigation focuses on Florida’s use of force laws, Shibly said.

Todashev was in Tampa last week and announced he was being represented by attorneys Ludin, of Clearwater, and Barry Cohen, of Tampa.

He said he plans to remain in the United States as long as he can so he can learn the results of the investigation, Ludin said at a Tampa news conference last week.

Ashton, the Orange-Osceola state attorney, is best known for being one of the prosecutors who tried Casey Anthony, the Orlando mother acquitted two years ago in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.

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