By Modou Nyang, New York Banka Manneh and Alagie Barrow, co-accused in the U.S. for plotting to overthrow the government of the Gambia, have decided to change their pleas from not guilty to guilty, authorities associated with the case confirm. Manneh, will tomorrow appear in court for his change of plea hearing, whilst Barrow’s is scheduled to take place on Monday, May 11.“A guilty plea will be offered to the judge,” said Mark D. Larsen attorney for Banka Manneh in a telephone interview. Larsen said it is left to the prosecution (U.S. government) to accept the plea bargain or not. Responding to the question as to whether a change to a guilty plea is what is in the best interest of his client, Larsen said that it is for Manneh to say. He however said Manneh needs to agree to the change. Barrow’s attorney Robert D. Richman will not comment on the case arguing about the lack of control on how authorities in the Gambia uses the information. “We are not interested in the publicity of the case in the Gambia,” Richman said, after verifying the purpose of the call. “The government uses the information in a way that we cannot control.” Ben Petok, Director of Communications at the Minnesota U.S. District Attorney’s office, said the prosecution will accept the change of plea offer. “It is the right of defendants to decide they want to change their plea.” Manneh and Barrow, third and second accused persons, are facing two count conspiracy charges of violating the U.S. Neutrality Act and “use [of] a firearm during a crime of violence,” in an attempt to overthrow the government of the Gambia. If the court confirms their change of pleas, they will join Papa Faal in pleading guilty to the charges against them. Faal, who is currently awaiting sentencing after changing an earlier not guilty plea to guilty, was together with Cherno Njie, the first to be arraigned in relation to this case. Njie, the first accused in this case, still maintains a not guilty plea. His trial is due in June.]]>
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