December 20, 2014
Campagnoli still at odds with attorney-general
Sparks continued to fly between prosecutor José María Campagnoli and members of the Attorney General‘s office headed by Alejandra Gils Carbó a day after he was formally reinstated at the unit located in the City neighbourhood of Saavedra. Campagnoli complained because his loyal employees were sent to other units but sources linked to Gils Carbó told the Herald that the prosecutor has enough people to do his job.
The same sources also told the Herald that some of the employees who defended Campagnoli reportedly committed irregularities following Campagnoli’s suspension in December and that the Attorney-General will have to decide if she takes any disciplinary administrative action against them.
On Friday, Campagnoli and his lawyers Ricardo Gil Lavedra and Ignacio Irigaray met with Eduardo Casal, who was replacing Gils Carbó until she returns from holiday next Monday. The first thing Campagnoli requested was to have all his employees returned to his office. Staff had clashed with prosecutor Cristina Caamaño, who replaced Campagnoli. The dispute also included a criminal complaint against Caamaño filed by Broad Front-UNEN lawmaker Elisa “Lilita” Carrió, accusing the prosecutor of harassing Campagnoli’s loyal employees.
The list of alleged irregularities from Campagnoli’s team of employees includes locking the office to prevent Caamaño from entering, refusing to show her the information related to the cases and also cutting the power to prevent the prosecutor from working. Some of them are accused of leaving the office without permission to attend hearings in the impeachment tribunal to support Campagnoli.
The decision of the attorney-general — who last year propelled the impeachment against Campagnoli for malfeasance and for interfering with a colleague’s investigation — was to send the employees to work in other prosecutors’ units. “Prosecutors did not want to take them on as they were messy employees,” a source told the Herald.
“This is not going to prompt a decision as the attorney-general has to first decide whether they are going to face any disciplinary measure,” the source added.
Campagnoli insists that his team was dismantled in another attempt to punish him for daring to investigate Kirchnerite businessman Lázaro Báez.
Campagnoli’s employees were accused by Caamaño, Claudia Katok and Norberto Sagretti of sabotage. The complaint is being investigated by federal prosecutor Patricio Evers.
On Monday, Campagnoli met with Katok but did not find Caamaño in the office as she is away on holiday during the ongoing judicial recess. Caamaño also reported several threats and filed a complaint with a City prosecutor, who allegedly requested the US Department of Homeland Security to investigate some local Twitter users, including employees on good terms with Campagnoli.
Campagnoli was suspended in December last year and in June he was brought to court to explain if he had exceeded his jurisdiction when trying to investigate Báez for money-laundering when the case was being examined by a federal prosecutor and a judge. The proceeding floundered when one of the members of the tribunal, Public Defender María Cristina Martínez Córdoba, stepped down because she was suffering from stress and high blood pressure.
On Thursday, in a divided vote, the jurors decided to reinstate Campagnoli as a prosecutor but agreed unanimously that he would have to face a new impeachment process.
Prosecutor Adolfo Villate, who along with his colleague Marcelo García Berro accuse Campagnoli of malfeasance, told the Herald yesterday that they were analyzing the strategy they would follow in the preliminary hearing scheduled for August 5 to decide when the second trial is going to begin. Campagnoli’s lawyers will oppose it as they believe that he cannot be tried twice for the same charges.
It is possible that Campagnoli will have to face other accusations if a second trial is held. There is an open investigation into the 1500-photograph record that Campagnoli kept in his office so he and his staff could identify alleged criminals living in the impoverished Mitre neighbourhood in Saavedra. The investigation mostly focuses on the pictures taken of minors.
There is another investigation into the alleged bullying of three women who worked with Campagnoli and a man. According to sources, Campagnoli reportedly bullied women who married divorced men, which was seen as a sign of his ultra-conservative stance.
Campagnoli was informed of the accusations regarding the photo database and he has not filed his response yet. If the case moves forward before August 5, the prosecutor will have to give explanations for that case as well.@lucianabertoia