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October 26, 2014
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Jurors meet to unlock Campagnoli’s trial

Suspended prosecutor José María Campagnoli (right) sits next to his lawyer Ignacio Irigaray in the courtroom.

By Luciana Bertoia

Suspended prosecutor requests to be reinstated, says the proceeding is null

Members of the impeachment tribunal trying suspended prosecutor José María Campagnoli will meet today in a bid to put an end to the case’ legal deadlock. They will have also to decide whether to accept a request filed yesterday by Campagnoli’s lawyers to reinstate the prosecutor in his office in the City’s Saavedra neighbourhood.

The resignation of public defender María Cristina Martínez Córdoba as a juror on July 2 led the impeachment proceeding against Campagnoli to a dead end. Remaining jurors will be meeting today at 1pm to decide who will replace her. She resigned as a result of the stress and high blood pressure she was suffering after threats were allegedly made against her.

Martínez Córdoba’s position could be filled by either substitute prosecutor Leonardo Miño or by Nicolás Toselli, who was appointed by the head of the Public Defenders’ Office Stella Maris Martínez.

That will be the first decision that the six remaining members of the court are expected to make. Sources from the tribunal told the Herald that jurors had been in touch over the past few days, but also explained that no juror has so far changed his or her mind about the allegations against Campagnoli.

“I think a decision could be reached tomorrow (today) to end the deadlocked situation,” one of the jurors said optimistically in conversation with this newspaper.

The tribunal is divided into those who want to decide on who is taking Martínez Córdoba’s place and those who want to discuss the recusation of Miño, which was filed by prosecutors Adolfo Villate and Marcelo García Berro. The first group is made up of federal prosecutor Daniel Adler, Rodolfo Ojea Quintana (the Senate’s representative in the tribunal) and Ernesto Kreplak (the Executive’s representative). The group that wants to decide if Miño is recused before deciding who takes Martínez Córdoba’s seat is comprised of the bar association representatives Javier Panero and Adriana Donato along with Juan Octavio Gauna, the Supreme Court’s representative in the impeachment tribunal.

Villate and García Berro, who accuse Campagnoli of malfeasance and of interfering with a colleague’s investigation, have challenged Miño since he is one of the members of the Magistrates Association who last year opposed Campagnoli’s suspension, saying that his legal situation could be interpreted as government interference in the affairs of the judiciary. Campagnoli says he was forced to face an impeachment tribunal as punishment for daring to investigate Kirchnerite businessman Lázaro Báez.

Not a new proceeding

According to the Criminal Procedural Code, trials cannot be postponed for more than 10 days. The proceeding against Campagnoli has been suspended since June 24, when Martínez Córdoba requested a leave of absence.

Campagnoli’s lawyers, Ricardo Gil Lavedra and Ignacio Irigaray, yesterday filed a request with the impeachment tribunal to declare the trial null and void and to reinstate Campagnoli.

“Campagnoli was accused and was also given the chance to defend himself but the court did not issue a verdict,” Irigaray said in comments to the Herald. “It was not Campagnoli’s fault, so it’s not acceptable that he has to face a new proceeding,” the lawyer highlighted.

However, sources from the attorney general’s office emphasized that a new trial could be held before October, when the charges against Campagnoli expire. That is likely to be the second discussion that will divide members of the court, if in the end they manage to settle on Martínez Córdoba’s replacement.

@LucianaBertoia

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