On Saturday, November 21, the CBS news program 48 Hours will broadcast a program dubbed "The Strange Case of Kurt Sonnenfeld" — and that's certainly an accurate title.
Sonnenfeld was accused, then un-accused, and subsequently accused again of murdering his wife, Nancy, in Denver during the first minutes of 2002.
By the time Colorado prosecutors decided to re-file charges that had previously been dropped, however, Sonnenfeld had relocated to Argentina, where he claimed the murder charges were a phonied-up pretext to punish him for his claims — which he said were supported by footage he shot as a FEMA videographer — that the U.S. government had known in advance about the 9/11 attacks.
Early on New Year's Day 2002, as we've reported, Denver police officers were dispatched to Sonnenfeld's home in Congress Park on a report of an attempted suicide.
Upon their arrival, they found the front door locked — and Sonnenfeld either couldn't or wouldn't open it.
In the end, the cops broke through a window to find Nancy slouched in a chair with a bullet wound to her head. She died shortly thereafter.
The gun was approximately six feet away from Nancy's body and an autopsy suggested that the fatal shot had been fired from the back, making suicide impossible. As a result, Sonnenfeld was arrested and charged with murder. But the day before his trial was set to begin, Denver District Attorney (and future Colorado governor) Bill Ritter dropped the charges against Sonnenfeld. The reason, according to 7News: He feared he couldn't convince a jury of Sonnenfeld's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case remained open, however, and in late 2003, based on additional evidence gathered in the interim, Ritter filed a fresh arrest warrant for Sonnenfeld. But by then, he'd left the country, eventually settling in Buenos Aires — and over the years that have followed, he's portrayed himself as a victim targeted by the United States for his 9/11 theories.
Here's an excerpt from a statement Sonnenfeld released in conjunction with the 2009 publication of a book called El Perseguido; the phrase translates as "Persecuted."
My book is not about conspiracy theories, but I do offer my theory. And my theory is that there was a conspiracy and I approach the subject from my point of view and experience. But mostly it is about the bizarre events that have happened (and are still happening) to me after my tour of duty at Ground Zero.
I was at the world Trade Center. I was part of the official investigation. Previously I had been an official videographer for the US government in critical or catastrophic situations. I’ve done work characterized as confidential at many classified and maximum security locations related to the storage, development and transportation of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons or their components and participated in simulations and training for disasters, catastrophic accidents and terrorist incidents for many different agencies.
Immediately after the attacks on the World Trade Center, the entire area in lower Manhattan was sealed off to the public and to the news media. All cameras were prohibited inside the secured perimeter and any “unauthorized” cameras were immediately confiscated. I was given total and absolute access, however, and was instructed to document for the investigation and to provide some “sanitized” pool video to virtually every news network in the world. But I never handed my tapes over to the authorities.
Since then, over the course of the past seven years, I have been falsely accused, imprisoned twice in two different countries, tortured, put in solitary confinement, followed across two continents and slandered relentlessly in a campaign to dehumanize me so that no one will protest and to discredit me so that when I talk, no one will listen. Four years ago, the US embassy sent a note to Argentine officials to confiscate all of my possessions and documents and to remit them to the United States. To this day, my wife, my twin daughters and I live in a closed world surrounded by threat and harassment.
I wrote this book to save my family.
In recent years, Sonnenfeld has shared some of his footage on Facebook. The introduction to the following clip reads: "At 9 years after 9/11 and thanks to the collaboration of Kurt Sonnenfeld, we present a clip with exclusive images at Ground Zero. It should be noted that this material has been given to different researchers in the United States, Europe and Latin America. We thank the Sonnenfeld family for having entrusted this document to us and we reaffirm our commitment to them and their struggle: Truth and Justice."
K-Sonnenfeld in Ground Zero
At 9 years after 911 and thanks to the collaboration of Kurt Sonnenfeld, we present a clip with exclusive images at Ground Zero. It should be noted that this material has been given to different researchers in the United States, Europe and Latin America. We thank the Sonnenfeld family for having entrusted this document to us and we reaffirm our commitment to them and their struggle: Truth and Justice.A 9 años del 11-S y gracias a la colaboración de Kurt Sonnenfeld, presentamos a continuación un clip con imágenes exclusivas de sus filmaciones en Ground Zero. Cabe aclarar que este material ha sido entregado a distintos investigadores en Estados Unidos, Europa y Latinoamérica. Agradecemos a la familia Sonnenfeld por habernos confiado este documento y reafirmamos nuestro compromiso para con ellos y su lucha: Verdad y Justicia.Posted by Kurt Sonnenfeld on Monday, September 13, 2010
Back in Colorado, prosecutors still hoped to put Sonnenfeld on trial for Nancy's death — and in December 2014, they finally seemed to be on the cusp of success.
That's when Argentina's Supreme Court approved Sonnenfeld's extradition.
But things have changed.
As reported by the Denver Post's Kirk Mitchell, who wrote a 2013 book about Sonnenfeld called The Spin Doctor: Hero or Cold-Blooded Killer?, Argentina's president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, has issued an executive order overriding the Supreme Court decision.
Does this development mean Sonnenfeld will never be returned to Colorado for prosecution? That's not clear quite yet. But expect this Saturday's 48 Hours broadcast to stir up supporters and detractors alike.
Look below to see a preview of the program, followed by a mini-documentary about Sonnenfeld that he posted on Facebook.
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