Friday
October 31, 2014

Request brings down new impeachments

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Campagnoli trial is stuck again

By Luciana Bertoia
Herald Staff
The second round of prosecutor José María Campagnoli's impeachment was scheduled to start today but a request filed yesterday led the trial once again to a dead end.

As the Herald reported on Sunday, prosecutors Adolfo Villate and Marcelo García Berro were analyzing whether to file a request to recuse some of the jurors tasked with defining Campagnoli’s fate. Yesterday Villate and García Berro recused four of the seven members of the impeachment tribunal, those who voted in favour of reinstating Campagnoli as a prosecutor last month.

The court had to call off the preliminary hearing scheduled for today in which Campagnoli’s defence lawyers, Ignacio Irigaray and former Radical Party lawmaker Ricardo Gil Lavedra, were going to meet the prosecutors and the members of the impeachment tribunal.

The court will have to summon the four recused jurors’ alternates to decide whether they accept or refuse the request filed by Villate and García Berro. But it has not been determined when the meeting is going to take place, a source from the impeachment tribunal yesterday told the Herald.

This is not the first recusation request that the court has to decide on but since the first impeachment trial floundered last month after Public Defender María Cristina Martínez Córdoba’s resignation, things have worsened.

Objections

Villate and García Berro yesterday filed a request saying that Bar Association representatives Adriana Donato and Javier Panero as well as Juan Octavio Gauna (the Supreme Court representative) and Public Defender Leonardo Miño, who replaced Martínez Córdoba, cannot be members of the impeachment tribunal.

Last month, the jurors met to decide who was going to be Martínez Córdoba’s alternate. Her substitute was Miño, a public defender who is also one of the top members of the Magistrates Association, an organization that last year rejected Campagnoli’s suspension. Villate and García Berro recused Miño but the other members of the tribunal refused their presentation. Public Defenders’ boss Stella Maris Martínez appointed Nicolás Toselli to take Martínez Córdoba’s seat but Miño refused to leave. Miño was backed by Donato, Panero and Gauna. They also agreed to send Campagnoli back to his office in the City neighbourhood of Saavedra to wait for a new trial to start. Three other members of the court opposed: federal prosecutor Daniel Adler, Ernesto Kreplak (the Executive’s representative) and Rodolfo Ojea Quintana (the Senate’s representative).

“This situation is shameful,” prosecutor Villate said in conversation with the Herald. “All of them were part of a plan to keep Miño in the impeachment tribunal,” the prosecutor who accuses Campagnoli of malfeasance and interfering with a colleague’s investigation added.

Campagnoli was suspended in December last year, accused of changing the object of a case in order to take part in an investigation involving Kirchnerite businessman Lázaro Báez. The case was being examined by a federal court, this is why Attorney General Alejandra Gils Carbó accused him of malfeasance and requested his removal.

The case hit the headlines and opposition politicians and media said that Campagnoli was being persecuted for investigating a man linked to the Pink House. They also said that the die had been cast, but everything indicates that they were wrong.

The four alternates will have to be summoned to make a decision over the recusation request filed by Villate and García Berro. Some problems could emerge since Gauna's alternate, María Graciela Reiriz, was reportedly suffering from health problems and Panero's substitute, Rodrigo Bacigalupi, does not live in Buenos Aires. Beatriz Celia Rial, another member of the BA City’s Bar Association, is Donato’s alternate.

A prolonged discussion could again lead the proceeding to a dead end. The charges against Campagnoli expire in October, so a new trial has to be held in the following two months.

“Everything is calm. This is not the first recusation request we have to analyze,” a source from the impeachment tribunal yesterday told the Herald, adding that they wanted to deliver a verdict. The trial has been characterized by threats and scandals and some believe that it is going to flounder.

@LucianaBertoia

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