Schumer Urges FBI & DOJ To Make Serbian Extradition Case A Top Priority After Man Charged In Binghamton Bar Room Beating Incident Flees The Country
Miladin Kovacevic Fled the U.S., Allegedly With an Emergency Serbian Passport After Consulate Posted $100,000 Cash BailKovacevic Charged in Connection With a May 4 Beating Severely Hurting a Binghamton University Student, Bryan Steinhauer, 22, Native of BrooklynSchumer Sends Letter Urging the FBI and Justice Department to Prioritize the Case and Aggressively Pursue Extradition of the Accused
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today urged the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to make a Serbian extradition case a top priority following a bar room beating in Binghamton that left a college student near death. Miladin Kovacevic fled the United States to Germany, and perhaps to Serbia, with an emergency Serbian passport three days after he was bailed out of jail on $100,000 cash bail apparently paid for by the Serbian consulate. Kovacevic was charged in connection to the May 4 beating of fellow BU student Bryan Steinhauer, who remains in critical condition and has not regained consciousness since the assault.
In response to reports that the Serbian consulate had posted bail for Kovacevic and that the accused had fled with an emergency Serbian passport, Schumer sent a letter to the FBI and DOJ urging them to immediately prioritize the case and aggressively pursue quick extradition of Kovacevic.
"The Steinhauer family has suffered enough. We have an extradition treaty with Serbia; the suspect fled inappropriately and federal law enforcement must now step in and do everything in its power to bring justice to the Steinhauer family as quickly as possible," said Schumer. "The Justice Department and the FBI must make it a priority to bring Kovacevic back to US soil so we can prosecute him immediately. I am offering my support to these agencies and will do whatever possible to ensure the Steinhauers see some kind of justice amidst their heartache, as we all hope and pray each day for Bryan to make a recovery."
Miladin Kovacevic, a former Binghamton University basketball player and Serbian national, was charged in connection to the May 4 beating of fellow BU student Bryan Steinhauer in a bar room fight. After the excellent work done by Broome County District Attorney Gerry Mollen and the local police, Mr. Kovacevic was arrested and held on a felony assault charge in connection with Mr. Steinhauer's attack.
After being held in jail on felony assault since then, Kovacevic posted bail on June 6, after surrendering his passport. However, the next day U.S. Customs Enforcement said Kovacevic had fled the US via Newark Airport, using a Serbianissued emergency passport. It was also uncovered that the Serbian Consulate General's Office in New York City posted the $100,000 bail for Kovacevic on June 6 in Broome County Court.
In response to these facts, the FBI and U.S. State Department are looking into what role the Consulate may have had in Kovacevic's escape and issued a federal warrant for Kovacevic's arrest overseas on June 13, allowing the FBI to look for Kovacevic outside of the US. Senator Schumer today sent a letter to the FBI and DOJ, urging that they immediately make this case a top priority. Schumer asked the federal agencies to aggressively pursue prompt extradition of the accused, as the US has an extradition treaty with Serbia.
Schumer wrote in his letter: "As the Department may already be aware, a federal warrant was issued June 13, 2008, for Mr. Kovacevic's arrest and DA Mollen has made a request for assistance to the Justice Department's Office of International Affairs. Given the violent nature of the crime, the disturbing facts surrounding the suspect's flight from the jurisdiction, and our extradition treaty with Serbia, I respectfully ask that you make this case a top priority and take all appropriate steps aggressively to pursue the prompt extradition of Mr. Kovacevic."
A copy of Senator Schumer's letter is pasted below:
June 23, 2008
The Honorable Michael B. Mukasey
Attorney General of the United States
Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington , DC 20530
Dear Attorney General Mukasey:
I write to express my deep concern regarding a case from Binghamton, New York, involving an accused felon and Serbian national, Mr. Miladin Kovacevic, who has jumped bail and fled the country under suspicious circumstances. Since we have an extradition treaty with Serbia, I ask that the Department of Justice and FBI make this case a top priority and do everything possible to promptly bring to justice this suspected violent felon, who has reportedly fled to Serbia in an effort to evade justice here in the U.S. I am sure you will agree that the facts of the case are disturbing on several levels.
On May 4, 2008, 22 yearold Bryan Steinhauer, a Brooklyn native and SUNY Binghamton student, was beaten to within an inch of his life by three assailants. Bryan is in a druginduced coma and has yet to regain consciousness from the vicious assault. His family waits alongside him in a Long Island hospital, praying that he wakes up and that his assailants are brought to justice. After the excellent work done by Broome County District Attorney Gerry Mollen and the local police, Mr. Kovacevic, also a Binghamton University student, was arrested and held on a felony assault charge in connection with Mr. Steinhauer's attack.
On June 6, 2008, it appears that the Serbian Consulate General in New York City posted $100,000 cash bail for Mr. Kovacevic, who had previously surrendered his passport. Upon making bail, however, Mr. Kovacevic reportedly fled the country using a Serbian passport that may have been provided by the Serbian consulate. Mr. Kovacevic is now presumed to be in Serbia.
As the Department may already be aware, a federal warrant was issued June 13, 2008, for Mr. Kovacevic's arrest and DA Mollen has made a request for assistance to the Justice Department's Office of International Affairs. Given the violent nature of the crime, the disturbing facts surrounding the suspect's flight from the jurisdiction, and our extradition treaty with Serbia, I respectfully ask that you make this case a top priority and take all appropriate steps aggressively to pursue the prompt extradition of Mr. Kovacevic.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
CHARLES E. SCHUMER
UNITED STATES SENATOR
Cc: Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert S. Mueller, III
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