Audible releases new true crime podcast Abuse of Power: State of Florida vs Krishna Maharaj

A new six-part Audible Original podcast Abuse of Power: State of Florida vs Krishna Maharaj, hosted by Criminal Defence and Civil Rights Attorneys David Rudolf and Sonya Pfeiffer, is released today.

The series explores the case of Krishna Maharaj, a British Trinidadian businessman who was arrested for double homicide and sentenced to death following the murders of Derrick Moo Young and his son Duane at the DuPoint Plaza Hotel in downtown Miami in 1986. The reason for his conviction? A phone call made by a man named Neville Butler who claimed that he’d been in the suite when Krishna shot the Moo Youngs in retaliation for embezzling money from their business partnership.

Over the last 35 years Krishna has fiercely defended his innocence. His initial death penalty was reduced to life imprisonment in the late 90s, but despite multiple appeals and representation from renowned human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith the conviction remains.

In 2014, Smith presented compelling new evidence that the Moo Young’s murder was really an assassination orchestrated by the notorious drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. Even now, despite testimonies from several former Medellin Cartel members supporting the evidence, the State and Federal courts continue to refuse Krishna a new trial.

Krishna is now 82 years old and in poor health. His lawyers and wife continue to fight with the hope that a judge will eventually do the right thing, but they fear that if the right thing doesn’t happen soon, Krishna will die in prison.

David Rudolf said: “Krishna Maharaj’s case illustrates the horrors that the criminal justice system can inflict on a person – and everyone in that person’s orbit.

“Kris has shown unwavering patience and admirable grace in his fight against the machine of the state, while his attorney, Clive Stafford Smith, has worked tirelessly, heroically and optimistically for decades.

“This story is one that moved me on a personal level and motivated me on a professional level. It is critical for people outside the system to understand how the system distorts the meaning of justice because those fighting on the inside need reinforcements and resources. This case is the perfect vehicle for driving emotion and action, and I have been humbled as we have dug into the many layers”.

Sonya Pfeiffer said: “The case of Krishna Maharaj is one of the most compelling I’ve ever explored, and it provides a shocking window into the criminal legal system in America.

“As a former journalist, I have been riveted by the extraordinary people involved in Kris’ case: Kris himself, a self-made man whose star and fortunes fell so quickly and harshly; Clive Stafford Smith, Kris’ endlessly dedicated and eternally optimistic attorney; the many alternative suspects who have frighteningly close and meaningful connections to drug cartels; and even the victims, whose lives and business dealings somehow remained hidden until after Kris’ conviction.

“Kris and Clive’s ability to maintain hope is inspiring, but also heart-wrenching, given the stringent and unforgiving nature of the system. Whatever really happened in Room 1215 at the Dupont Plaza Hotel may forever remain a mystery, but knowing what we know now, there is no mystery whatsoever when it comes to the question of whether Kris Maharaj received a fair trial. He absolutely did not. And the system is entirely disinterested in righting that wrong.”

Clive Stafford Smith, contributor and Criminal Defence and Civil Rights Attorney said: “I have represented more than 300 people on death row and without doubt Kris’ case is the case where I have ultimately been able to assemble the most compelling case of innocence of all: we know Kris didn’t do the murder and we know who did, yet for years the courts turned a blind eye.

“People ask me why I have spent over 7000 hours working on the case of an 82 year old who has little time left in life, but Kris and his ever-loyal wife Marita have taught me a great deal about loyalty.

“Meanwhile Kris’ case has educated even an old hand like me about the fundamental flaws in our justice system, flaws that go unrecognised and therefore uncured. Every time I turn another legal rock over, I find another extraordinary injustice and the idea of walking away is impossible, it just isn’t going to happen.”

Alongside the launch of Audible Original, Abuse of Power: State of Florida vs Krishna Maharaj, Abuse of Power Season 1 will be available on Audible. The first season originally premiered in early 2020 and was nominated for several awards, including the 2021 People Choice Podcast Awards and the 2021 Webby Awards, which it won in the “Crime & Justice” category.

Abuse of Power: State of Florida vs Krishna Maharaj and the original series 1 is available from today exclusively for Audible members or free with Audible’s 30-day trial, audible.co.uk/abuseofpower.

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