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Former Northwest Airlines Baggage Handler Pleads Guilty To Obstructing Justice In Connection With Taraskiewicz Murder Investigation, Reports U.S. Attorney.

BOSTON, Oct. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- United States Attorney Donald K. Stern announced that ROBERT BROOKS, 38 years old, a current resident of Victoria, Minnesota and a former Northwest Airlines baggage handler at Logan Airport, pled guilty earlier today to having obstructed justice in connection with a federal grand jury investigation into the murder of Susan Taraskiewicz and related federal crimes.

U.S. District Judge Richard G. Stearns set January 13, 1998, 3:00 p.m., as the date and time for BROOKS'sentencing. BROOKS faces up to ten years' imprisonment.

The charge to which BROOKS pled guilty was the sixth count of a six-count Superseding Indictment which was recently returned against BROOKS by the grand jury, and which was unsealed in court today. Counts One through Three charge BROOKS with perjury, and Counts Four and Five, like Count Six, charge BROOKS with obstruction of justice. BROOKS had previously pled not guilty to Counts One through Five, and he reiterated those not guilty pleas today.

All six counts of BROOKS' Superseding Indictment arise out of allegations that BROOKS lied in April and May of 1997 when he testified before a federal Grand Jury that was investigating the Taraskiewicz murder and whether Taraskiewicz's murder was connected to a mail theft and credit card fraud investigation that federal authorities were conducting at the time of the murder. During today's hearing before Judge Stearns, BROOKS admitted that he had made a series of false statements under oath to the federal grand jury investigating the murder.

Taraskiewicz was last seen alive on Sunday, September 13, 1992, and her body was found in the trunk of her car in front of an autobody shop on Route 1, near Logan Airport, early the next day, Monday, September 14, 1992. At the time of her murder, Taraskiewicz, like BROOKS, was a Northwest Airlines baggage handler working out of Logan Airport.

Taraskiewicz's murder occurred at the same time that a large-scale federal investigation into mail theft and credit card fraud involving Northwest Airlines employees was underway. That investigation ultimately resulted in more than thirty-five federal indictments and convictions, including indictments and convictions of ten former Northwest Airlines baggage handlers. BROOKS was one of those ten. In 1995, he pled guilty to a federal charge of conspiracy to commit mail theft and credit card fraud.

The investigation continues regarding Taraskiewicz's murder and the connection, if any, between her murder and the previous federal mail theft and credit card fraud cases.

The investigation leading to BROOKS' indictment and guilty plea was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the U.S. Secret Service, with the cooperation and assistance of Northwest Airlines. The case has been prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David J. Apfel, of Stern's Public Corruption and Special Prosecutions Unit.
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 23, 1998
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