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Legislator blasts verdict blaming Syria for journalist death

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FILE - This Nov. 3, 2008, file photo shows Marie Colvin. In a verdict unsealed late Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, a Washington judge hit the Syrian government with a $302 million judgment over the 2012 death of journalist Colvin, a longtime foreign correspondent for The Sunday Times. (Joel Ryan/PA via AP, File)

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — A U.S. court verdict that blamed the Syrian government for the killing of an American journalist was based on "fortune telling" rather than an investigation in accordance with the law, a senior Syrian legislator said Friday.

Syria's deputy Parliament Speaker Najdat Anzour reiterated to The Associated Press previous statements by government officials that Marie Colvin had entered the country illegally.

U.S. President Donald Trump "wants to build a wall with Mexico to prevent people from entering illegally to America," Anzour said. "At the same time there are some who want to get compensation for a person who entered a country illegally."

A Washington judge this week hit the Syrian government with a $302 million judgment over the 2012 death of Colvin, a longtime foreign correspondent for The Sunday Times.

U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson concluded the Syrian military had deliberately targeted the makeshift media center in the city of Homs where Colvin and other journalists were working.

"We don't know who killed her," Anzour said.

Lawyers for Colvin's family argued that her death was no accident. They hope to recover the $302 million verdict by targeting frozen Syrian government assets overseas. The Syrian government never responded to the suit.

FILE- In this May 13, 2013, file photo, the photo of Journalist Marie Colvin who was killed in Syria while she was reporting from there, is seen on the wall of the Newseum during the Journalist Memorial Re-dedication ceremony of the journalists who died reporting the news in 2012 in Washington. Seven years after Colvin was killed while covering the Syrian revolution, a Washington court has found the Syrian government liable and awarded more than $300 million in damages (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)
FILE- In this May 13, 2013, file photo, the photo of Journalist Marie Colvin who was killed in Syria while she was reporting from there, is seen on the wall of the Newseum during the Journalist Memorial Re-dedication ceremony of the journalists who died reporting the news in 2012 in Washington. Seven years after Colvin was killed while covering the Syrian revolution, a Washington court has found the Syrian government liable and awarded more than $300 million in damages (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)
FILE- In this May 13, 2013, file photo, the photo of Journalist Marie Colvin who was killed in Syria while she was reporting from there, is seen on the wall of the Newseum during the Journalist Memorial Re-dedication ceremony of the journalists who died reporting the news in 2012 in Washington. Seven years after Colvin was killed while covering the Syrian revolution, a Washington court has found the Syrian government liable and awarded more than $300 million in damages (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)
FILE - This Nov. 3, 2008, file photo shows Marie Colvin. In a verdict unsealed late Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, a Washington judge hit the Syrian government with a $302 million judgment over the 2012 death of journalist Colvin, a longtime foreign correspondent for The Sunday Times. (Joel Ryan/PA via AP, File)
FILE - This Nov. 3, 2008, file photo shows Marie Colvin. In a verdict unsealed late Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, a Washington judge hit the Syrian government with a $302 million judgment over the 2012 death of journalist Colvin, a longtime foreign correspondent for The Sunday Times. (Joel Ryan/PA via AP, File)