Detroit man awarded $10 million after wrongful conviction

Written by on February 20, 2024

Wolf Mueller Law

(DETROIT) — A man who was wrongfully convicted and incarcerated for over six years was awarded $10 million in damages by a jury in Detroit.

Alexandre Ansari, who was awarded last Friday, was wrongfully serving a life sentence over claims that in 2012 he shot and killed Ileana Cuevas, a 15-year-old girl, and wounded two others in Detroit, according to a lawsuit filed by Ansari in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan Southern Division.

“Once I got the verdict back, my heart dropped. And I’m like, ‘Dang, I got to spend the rest of my life in here for something I didn’t do.’ And you know, I tried to kill myself,” Ansari told Linsey Davis on “ABC News Live Prime.” “It felt like nobody didn’t put all the evidence together to see that I wasn’t the person in the first place. So things started getting overwhelming for me.”

Ansari, 39, was exonerated in 2019 by the Wayne County Circuit Court after it determined that Moises Jimenez, a former Detroit police detective, withheld evidence for Ansari’s trial that would have implicated someone else as the shooter, according to the County of Wayne Office of the Prosecuting Attorney.

“Mr. Ansari’s criminal conviction was dismissed in Wayne County Circuit Court by Judge Thomas Hathaway in 2019,” the county prosecutor told ABC News in a statement. “The jury found that Alexandre Ansari’s constitutional rights were violated by a Detroit police detective by concealing evidence in the fatal shooting of a 15-year-old girl.”

Jimenez received an anonymous tip that linked the shooter to the Mexican Drug Cartel, according to the complaint that released Ansari. He withheld the evidence from Ansari’s 2013 trial, according to the lawsuit. Jimenez’s attorneys told ABC News that the former detective claims that he provided all evidence he uncovered during his investigation and plans to appeal the $10 million lawsuit verdict.

“Additionally, there was an ‘Internal Memorandum’ in the trial prosecutor’s file which confirmed that she had received the information which was the subject of the litigation,” Jerry Ashford, chief of litigation for the City of Detroit Law Department, who is representing Jimenez, told ABC News in a statement. “This was always a witness identification case where two witnesses identified Plaintiff [Ansari] as the shooter. The witnesses never recanted.”

There have been no reported arrests connected to the shooting since Ansari’s exoneration. Ansari was wrongfully arrested for the crime when he was 27 years old, according to Wolf Mueller, Ansari’s attorney. Mueller told ABC News that Jimenez’s appeal will go nowhere.

“If he put the cartel leader away for murder, he would be sentenced, just like Alex, to life without parole,” Mueller told Linsey Davis on “ABC News Live Prime.” “And he feared retaliation from the cartel, so he hid the evidence and purposely directed the investigation away from the cartel leader.”

Ansari told ABC News that he looks forward to enjoying his life of freedom.

“Live a life that I missed,” Ansari said. “Just invest and try to give back to the universe.”

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