Alvaro Uribe goes on trial for allegedly bribing in the middle of the presidential campaign | International
Alvaro Eurip was legally defeated in a lengthy criminal battle this Wednesday. The former president expected a Bogota judge to file a case against him Started in 2018, Opened by the Supreme Court, of course bribery and procedural fraud to witnesses. But the opposite happened: the judge confirmed that the trial against the former president should continue. This is the most important court case in the country today, and the verdict of this judge has legal and political consequences for the country’s most powerful former president.
The criminal case is a long legal maze that will not end soon, as Urib wants. In 2018 and 2020, the court said there was sufficient evidence It should be pointed out that some witnesses in his favor in one of the court cases received compensation from the ambassadors of the former president. The former president later resigned his post in the Senate so as not to be investigated by the Supreme Court, but by the Attorney General’s Office. The subject of that decision, it was then understood, was that the prosecutor’s office would be less strict with the former president because the prosecutor was closer to Uribe President Ivan Duque.
It was like that. In March 2021, the Attorney General’s Office rejected a number of evidence collected by the Supreme Court – testimonies or telephone records in prisons, for example – and He demanded that the trial be stayed. The victims, especially left-wing senator Ivan Cepeda, opposed it. According to sources, the person who tried to attack Uribe with these false witnesses was Cepeda.
So, after several legal twists and turns, the case ended up in the hands of this judge who had to file a green light or a red light to proceed with the trial. This Wednesday the light was green.
The judge, Carmen Ortiz, harshly criticized almost all of Gabriel James’ arguments for filing the trial. As the Supreme Court has seen, the judge said, if the prosecutor’s office says there is no evidence to suggest that three imprisoned ex-servicemen – Giovanni Gadavit, Elzo Marmol and Maximo Giusta – paid a bribe to speak out against Zebedee. At the same time there was skepticism about their motives for blaming the left-wing leader. So their evidence cannot be ignored. Or if the prosecutor’s office says that former President Alvaro Uribe is unaware of the bribery of his lawyer, Diego Cadena, to some witnesses, the judge will not agree. There are witnesses, indicating that the lawyer was able to act on behalf of the former president in meetings with some witnesses. In addition, the judge criticized the prosecutor’s office for ignoring some evidence and the Supreme Court deemed it appropriate. After explaining all of his arguments – in a trial that lasted nearly 10 hours – attorney Gabriel James said he would not appeal the judge’s decision. Therefore, investigations should continue.
Judge Ortiz’s decision could not determine whether Eurip was guilty of bribery or damaging witnesses. It only allows them to define whether there is sufficient evidence to continue the investigation against him. Or in other words, there is evidence to support the suspicion that Eurip was innocent. This judge’s decision can now be appealed by Uribe’s lawyers before the criminal chamber of the High Court in Bogotá, to determine whether Judge Ortiz erred or not to proceed with the trial. But the court is unlikely to make a decision by the end of May, when the first round of the presidential election will take place.
Join EL PAÍS to follow all the news and read without limits.
Unlike the 2010, 2014 and 2018 presidential elections, this May election, Alvaro Eurip had a very sensible profile. He did not openly support his candidate Federico Gutierrez because he knew that Uribe himself could do further damage to the campaign if he publicly expressed his support.
The popularity of this glamorous former right-wing president has plummeted in recent years. As part of the judicial challenges against him. Europe has been repeatedly questioned by Ivan Zepeda about being an ally of paramilitary forces. But it was only when Sepeda filed his complaints in Congress that the former president decided to file a criminal complaint against Sepeda. But that court case came back to Uribe like a boomerang: after the Supreme Court heard the case, the former president was detained in 2020 for allegedly searching for witnesses to the dirty Sepeda. Since then, with the help of powerful law firms, he has been able to delay the trial several times: either by relinquishing his seat in the Senate, filing records in the Constitutional Court and now asking for the case to be filed. Hands of Judge Artis. Europe lost the battle at this court. The most important judicial case in Colombia, at present, continues in its path. Presidential elections without Uribe in Public Square.
Subscribe here Receive all important information on the EL PAÍS US Newsletter and current affairs in the region.