A Mexican politician wanted since May 2009 on charges of colluding with drug traffickers was sworn-in Thursday as a member of the lower house of Congress.
“Around midday, the president of the leadership of the Chamber of Deputies, Jorge Carlos Ramirez Marin, administered the oath to Julio Cesar Godoy Toscano as federal deputy for the 1st Electoral District of the state of Michoacan,” the house said in a statement.
Ramirez Marin noted during Thursday’s session that Godoy recently obtained a court order reinstating his political rights, which had been suspended pursuant to the filing of federal charges against him.
The newly seated lawmaker, who is the half-brother of Michoacan Gov. Leonel Godoy, told reporters he entered Congress through “the main door,” apparently eluding the Federal Police said to be waiting to arrest him.
Julio Godoy, an attorney, said he would represent himself in the criminal case.
Though he now enjoys parliamentary immunity and cannot be arrested, the congressman said he would voluntarily appear before judicial authorities if asked.
Godoy, a member of the center-left PRD, won his seat in Congress in the elections of July 5, 2009, but did not appear at the following month’s opening of the legislative session.
The warrant for his arrest was issued at the same time as the detention of 28 mayors and other local officials in the western state of Michoacan on suspicion of ties to drug cartels.
Fifteen of the 28 were subsequently released without charge.
Recently, a district court in Michoacan threw out the charges against Julio Godoy, but the federal Attorney General’s Office refused to withdraw the warrant for his arrest.
PRD lawmaker Carlos Navarrete told RadioFormula it was “very regrettable” that the AG’s office relies on “unsupportable facts” to prosecute “honest Mexicans.”
“It’s the case with Julio Cesar Godoy,” Navarrete said of his colleague. “After a year ... there are no elements, arguments nor convincing evidence.”