After a grueling 13-hour struggle to convince a judge that former Veracruz Gov. Javier Duarte de Ochoa, now known as Javier “N,” was guilty of the crimes he’s accused of, the Attorney General’s Office’s (PGR) lawyers finally got their way and showed enough evidence that Javier “N” could be charged with organized criminal activities and operations with funds from illicit sources.
In this sonorous political case in which one of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s favorite governors has been declared subject to trial, Judge Gerardo Moreno García gave the PGR lawyers six more months of time to firmly establish a prosecution procedure and declared that the defense failed to show that Javier “N” can be linked to the “deviation of public resources to bogus companies” and to several accounts of his straw men.
Former Gov. Duarte is now to remain imprisoned pending trial at the Mexico City Northern Prison — popularly known as the ReNo for its first syllables of Reclusorio Norte — a medium security penitentiary where many courts are located at. The next date for a third trial meeting will be held next January 22, 2017.
During the court appearance last Saturday reports are that Javier Duarte de Ochoa had a very different attitude to that shown in previous appearances for extradition in Guatemala City where he already spent some time behind bars but all the time showed a “hipster” image.
Sources say this time his attitude before Judge Moreno García was that of a serious but nervous indicted person and that there were times when he bit his nails. He listened to all the many charges levied against him and reportedly he didn’t smile even once and avoided eye contact with those attending the pre-trial.
PGR representative Pedro Guevara told the judge that the PGR had detected a large number of properties and “façade” (non-existent) companies where public funds stemming out of the Veracruz state Health and Education secretariats, among others, had been detected. They also said they have detected accounts in Swiss banks and are hoping the Swiss government will share information so that they can add it to the files.
Defending lawyer Marco Antonio del Toro declared all evidence presented by the PGR lawyers as “pathetic” claiming the PGR had merely managed to explain the “deviation” of 38.5 million pesos and that was nothing compared to the total amount shown by the PGR which adds up to 1.650 billion pesos which, according to the defense lawyer, “has absolutely no justification” and that all charges were “vague and imprecise.”
Nevertheless at the end of the long Saturday Judge Moreno García opted for tanking Javier “N” pending trial but he also made it a point that the Saturday “discharge of proof” was neither a conviction nor a declaration that the indicted was guilty.
By law, former Gov. Duarte was denied the right to bail and carrying out his defense in liberty due to the fact that when the first arrest warrant came to him instead of showing up to face charges he fled the nation and “disappeared” during more than six months until his presence was detected in a tourist spa in Guatemala.
There are a lot more charges to come to the Duarte trial and besides the appearance of many witnesses, some of them his former associates and straw men — including two federal deputies — but those will be added as time goes by and the judge piles up a case.
The judge has now allowed also for the appearance of a key witness and that is current Veracruz Gov. Miguel Ángel Yunes, who during campaign last year promised his voters he’d put Duarte de Ochoa in jail and he now wants to throw the book at him charging him with sacking the Veracruz state finances — and other criminal actions such as human rights violations — and those charges are unrelated to those being filed the PGR attorneys.
Most likely for the meantime, the Javier “N” case will go into a silence lull until it is revived next January when it will surely become a hot political issue as the federal electoral process will be simmering and opposing parties will surely use it to “prove” that indeed President Enrique Peña Nieto has been corrupt. Proof of the pudding will be the trial.
But for now one of the most wanted political alleged culprits will have a long stay at the so-called ReNo Hotel, which of course, is no place for an honest man.