Facing the Music
WASHINGTON, D.C.: In an abrupt reversal, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze ordered diplomat Gueorgui Makharadze to remain in the U.S. to face a possible second-degree murder charge. Makharadze, the No. 2 envoy at the Georgian Embassy, had reportedly booked a Saturday flight to Georgia on Thursday after receiving instructions to return home amid a growing outcry to revoke his diplomatic immunity. Makharadze was involved in a high-speed five-car pileup a week ago that killed a teenage girl. Although it appeared at the time that alcohol was a factor in the wreck, Makharadze was not tested because of his diplomatic status. Less than 24 hours after the order to return was issued, Shevardnadze overruled it, telling U.S. officials he is prepared to waive his envoy's diplomatic immunity. The U.S. attorney's office has said the charges Makharadze could face range from negligent homicide to second-degree murder. Charges are expected to be filed next week.