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Georgia: Diplomat To Enter Plea Today In Fatal Car Crash

Washington, 4 March 1997 (RFE/RL) - Georgian envoy Gueorgui Makharadze is scheduled to appear in court in Washington today for the formal reading of the charges against him in connection with a fatal car accident in Washington in January.

One of the American attorneys representing Makharadze, Kirby Behre, told RFE/RL the diplomat will plead innocent to all charges. Makharadze, who was the second-ranking Georgian diplomat in Washington, is charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter and four counts of aggravated assault. Washington police say he was drunk and driving dangerously early January 3 when he lost control of his car and caused an accident that killed a 16-year-old girl and injured four other people.

The Georgian government agreed to lift Makharadze's diplomatic immunity, enabling Washington authorities to pursue criminal charges against him. After his formal arrest last month, Makharadze was released to the supervision of the Georgian embassy.