Crime & Justice

Verdict in corruption trial of Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez set for Dec. 6

Buenos Aires, Nov 29 (EFE).- The Argentine federal judges presiding over a corruption case involving Vice President Cristina Fernandez said Tuesday that they will meet on Dec. 6 to deliberate on their verdict.

Fernandez, 69, is one of 13 defendants accused in connection with public works contracts awarded during the 12 years (2003-2015) the presidency was occupied by herself and her late husband, Nestor Kirchner.

Judges Jorge Gorini, Andres Basso and Rodrigo Gimenez Uriburu fixed the date for the verdict after Fernandez, who is an attorney, addressed the court by video-link from her office in the dual guise of defendant and defense counsel.

Three years ago, during the early stage of the proceedings, the former president denounced the court as a “tribunal of ‘lawfare'” whose verdict was a foregone conclusion.

In her closing statement on Tuesday, Fernandez called her appraisal in 2019 “very generous” and said that in light of what has happened since, including a failed attempt on her life, she sees the court as “a genuine firing squad.”

Fernandez was greeting well-wishers outside her residence on the night of Sept.1 when a man walked up and pointed a hand-gun at her head before pulling the trigger twice, but the weapon jammed.

Her supporters began a vigil outside the building in the capital’s Recoleta neighborhood in late August after prosecutors announced they were seeking a 12-year sentence for the vice president and a lifetime ban on holding public office.

Fernandez said Tuesday that the case will one day be studied as a example of how the courts “became political parties.”

“This stigmatization, without evidence and in open violation of the constitution, to impute the character of criminal conspiracy to three democratically elected administrations. We will see if, as I think, history is also going to condemn you,” she told the judges.

The defendants are accused of criminal conspiracy and fraud in connection with 51 construction contracts in the southern province of Santa Cruz awarded to firms owned by businessman Lazaro Baez over the course of Kirchner’s 2003-2007 presidency and Fernandez’s 2007-2015 tenure as head of state.

Fernandez also contrasted her situation with that of her successor as president, conservative business tycoon Mauricio Macri, who has “no problem” and is in Qatar enjoying the World Cup despite having saddled Argentina with a $45 billion debt to the International Monetary Fund. EFE vd/dr

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