A judge on Tuesday ordered Iowa taxpayers to fork out $3,200 to pay for an “expert witness” to help defend the illegal alien accused of brutally murdering Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts, with even more taxpayer help potentially on its way.
Cristhian Bahena Rivera was arrested and charged with first-degree murder last year after police say he abducted and murdered 20-year-old Tibbetts, allegedly stabbing her to death before leaving her mutilated body in a corn field. Rivera was reportedly in the country illegally and had been living and working in the United States unlawfully for years.
According to The Gazette, taxpayers are on the hook for the $3,200 stipend to cover the cost of a forensic expert from Criminal Case Consultants in Buffalo, N.Y. to “provide insight on interrogation techniques and analytical investigative methods given the ‘length, context, language barriers and other factors involved in the police interrogation” of Rivera.’”
On top of that, that $3,200 stipend apparently only covers the initial cost of an expert to look into the matter, but doesn’t extend to any actual testimony at trial or the expert’s travel expenses. Rivera’s lawyer says he “will make separate requests for those funds if necessary,” The Gazette adds.
Eighth Judicial District Judge Joel Yates approved the taxpayer expense on Tuesday, ruling that Rivera, despite his illegal alien status, “qualifies” for the funds.
The defense asked for the money on the grounds that Rivera allegedly encountered “language barriers” when he first spoke to police after being arrested. The prosecution, however, has pointed out that the primary officer responsible for interviewing Rivera is not only fluent in Spanish, but that Spanish is his first language, and that the subsequent officers who questioned the suspect were also fluent in Spanish.