SAN DIEGO - The mother of a Marine veteran jailed in Mexico says her son lied to Mexican authorities at the orders of his attorney.
Marine veteran Andrew Tahmooressi, who was new to San Diego, was on his way to dinner in San Ysidro when he took a wrong turn and ended up at the Mexican port of entry, where he was arrested for having three U.S.-registered guns.
That was the story, but some of the details were not true.
"What he was directed to say was not the truth. We were told that's how you do it in Mexico," said Tahmooressi's mother, Jill Tahmooressi.
She says soon after his arrest on March 31, she received a call from Tahmooressi, who was upset about the lawyer she hired for him. Mexican attorney Alejandro Osuna was a lawyer she had seen on a list vetted by the U.S. State Department.
"Andrew was angry. He was like, 'Where'd you get this lawyer? He made me lie,'" said Jill Tahmooressi.
She says her son – in a statement before prosecutors – was ordered by his own attorney to keep his story simple.
"He actually and stood up and objected when he heard what was being said, but his attorney hushed him up," said Jill Tahmooressi.
She says Tahmooressi had been in San Diego for several months for post-traumatic stress disorder treatments but was told by his attorney to say he had just arrived.
Tahmooressi had visited Mexico before but she says he was told to say he had never crossed the border. She says Tahmooressi walked into Mexico earlier on the day of his arrest to get lunch, then crossed back to get his truck.
His mother says when she confronted the attorney about the lies, he was convincing.
"'You've got to trust me. This is Mexico, not America. We've got to eliminate suspicion,'" said Jill Tahmooressi.
The strategy unraveled with Mexican media reports describing video of Tahmooressi previously crossing.
10News reporter Michael Chen asked, "Because of this, Mexican authorities will point to him and say he lied. How do you deal with that?"
"He'll just tell the truth. He's so relieved to be able to go before a judge and tell the truth," said Jill Tahmooressi.
She says the truth of why he ended up at the border has never wavered: he took a wrong turn.
In a recently released 911 call, Tahmooressi can be heard just before his arrest asking for help, describing how he had gotten lost and ended up at the border.
Despite the revelation of the lies, Rep. Duncan Hunter supports the Marine veteran.
"That doesn't take away from the fact that he was on the border, didn't meant to be there,” said Hunter.
Jill Tahmooressi says she has not hired a new lawyer yet because she didn't want to delay an evidentiary hearing, which is set for Wednesday. She continues to weigh her options.
10News' messages to Osuna were not returned.