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Saturday, December 16, 2023

Garcia Luna's Lawyer Requests Retrial Citing Witheld Evidence & Witness Perjury

"Socalj" for Borderland Beat


A former top Mexican law enforcement official convicted earlier this year on US charges that he took millions of dollars in bribes from drug traffickers is seeking a new trial, arguing he has come across evidence key witnesses lied on the stand.

Lawyers for Genaro Garcia Luna, who as public security minister from 2006-2012 led the country's fight against drug cartels, said in a court filing on Friday that they had also found evidence that prosecutors' cooperating witnesses had improperly communicated with each other before trial.

"Mr. Garcia Luna was convicted of charges of which he is innocent," his lawyers wrote in a memorandum filed in federal court in Brooklyn, where the trial was held in January and February. "Letting the verdict stand would be a manifest injustice."



Garcia Luna, 55, is one of the highest-ranking Mexican officials ever accused of and convicted for ties to drug trafficking.

He was convicted in February 2023, on 5 criminal counts after prosecutors said he accepted bribes from the Sinaloa Cartel once run at that period by Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman in exchange for protection from arrest, safe passage for cocaine shipments, and tipoffs about forthcoming law enforcement operations.

During the same period for which Garcia Luna was convicted of being bribed by cartel members; he worked closely with US counter-narcotics and intelligence agencies as part of former Mexican President Felipe Calderon's fight against the cartels.

His defense lawyers said prosecutors did not turn over evidence showing the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), and other US government agencies conducted background checks on Garcia Luna and the security services he worked with while in office.

The new evidence in possession of the lawyers includes testimonies of his close associates; official agendas to establish where he was at key moments of the case; trust control tests he underwent when he was an official and collaborated with his US counterparts; personal correspondence; detailed reports on the Pegasus espionage program, and other documents, which according to his legal representatives, prove that there was an alleged plot to frame him led by the Attorney General’s Office.


Luna's defense attorney César de Castro.

Accusations of Perjury

They also allege that at least two witnesses who testified against García Luna committed perjury: Héctor Villarreal Hernández, treasurer of former Coahuila governor Humberto Moreira, and Francisco Cañedo, a former ministerial agent. Villarreal Hernandez claimed during the trial that the former official paid bribes of 25 million pesos a month in kickbacks to the newspaper El Universal in exchange for favorable coverage. Cañedo claimed that he witnessed a meeting between García Luna and two traffickers, Édgar “La Barbie” Villarreal and Arturo Beltrán Leyva.

The defense asserts that the former Coahuila treasurer also lied about meetings he held with García Luna, but which do not appear in his calendar as an official, and about an alleged visit in early 2009 to the bunker created during García Luna’s administration, which was not inaugurated until the end of that year. In that visit, Villarreal Hernandez said that the former secretary showed him how the spy software Pegasus worked. García Luna’s legal representatives say that NSO Group, the Israeli company that sold the spying program, was not established until a year after the alleged demonstration and the offer for the Coahuila government to acquire it.

García Luna’s lawyers also accuse Agent Cañedo of lying about García Luna’s kidnapping in 2008 and say his testimony was part of a “political strategy” to discredit their client. They claim that the ex-official was at the Angeles Hospital in Mexico City accompanying his wife in surgery and presented a bill for the hospital stay. 

They also cite the testimony of José Jorge Rincón, one of his bodyguards, stating that the security protocol required them to always take the toll highway when going to his weekend home in Jiutepec (Morelos) and not the free highway, where Cañedo says the meeting with the drug kingpins took place. And that of his private secretary, in which she states that she never saw Cañedo in the offices of the agency, where she said he worked.

The request for a new trial also claims that other key witnesses such as former Nayarit prosecutor Édgar Veytia, known as “El Diablo,” and Óscar Nava Valencia "El Lobo” communicated using contraband phones before the trial, contradicting the prosecution’s thesis that the witnesses gave statements to the same effect even though they had not seen each other in years or even met. 

This assertion comes from the testimony of an inmate at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center, who coincided in 2019 with Carlos Nava Valencia, alias “El Tigre” and brother of “El Lobo,” and who saw him communicate with him and Veytia, according to an affidavit. He also became close to Veytia as early as 2022, a year before the trial.

The Alleged Plot to Frame Luna

The document also states that members of Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office intercepted calls from Víctor Hugo Martínez Rocha, an imprisoned drug lord, which were sent to García Luna as a threat that he was being targeted since the end of 2009. The prisoner told his mother that “these people wanted to fuck García Luna” and were pressuring him with death threats to testify against him. Prosecutors allegedly wanted him to say that he and the ex-official met on a yacht, where he gave him a bribe for three million dollars from Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

For months, García Luna’s lawyers anticipated that they had had access to new materials that they had not been able to review while the trial was ongoing or that they had not received while the judicial process was underway. This evidence came from high-ranking US and Mexican officials, as well as from people who had access to exculpatory documents, they explained. These are thousands of pages that they intend to introduce in case they get a new trial, but which have not been validated by the judge.

The defense requested a pair of postponements to build its legal strategy and try to overturn the guilty verdict after its client was accused of collaborating with the Sinaloa Cartel in exchange for million-dollar bribes for more than two decades. 

Garcia Luna is currently scheduled to be sentenced on March 1, 2024. The US prosecution has until January 19, 2024, to respond to the motion. Then the defense will have a new opportunity to reply, and finally, Judge Cogan will have the last word. When asked about this, García Luna’s lawyers expect that it will be “weeks or even months” before they receive a definitive answer. There is no time frame for the judge to communicate his decision.

Family Members Charged

The defense’s request comes at the deadline granted by the judge and one day after Gloria García Luna, sister of the former official, was arrested in Cuernavaca in the case opened by Mexican authorities against the former secretary and his closest circle. His wife, Linda Cristina Pereyra, and at least four of García Luna’s siblings are accused of organized crime and operations with illicit resources. Oswaldo, an uncle of the former Federal Police chief, was also arrested in Puebla on the same charges. The proceedings in Mexico are unrelated and independent of the cases filed in the US courts.

Sources Reuters, El Pais

26 comments:

  1. Why hasn't the usa sentence this murderer?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because his trial has not been completed.

      Delete
    2. 7:54
      His trial has been completed and he will be sentenced in June.

      Delete
    3. Because of the post-trial litigation that is the subject of this article. Then there will be appeals after GGL is sentenced.

      Delete
    4. Because they never sentence people directly after a verdict is found.

      Courts get adjourned and a sentence date is set.

      Delete
  2. I was sure when I read the headline it would be about Barragan, El Grande, and his endless use as an unreliable witness. But Luna's the kind of man who will stew in a self righteous fury in his cell because though he did order murders and illegal surveillance through cartel lawyers and take multi million dollar bribes they didn't get it right in court so technically he is an innocent man. How dare they?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah , but you have to prove shit in Us beyond a reasonable doubt.

      Delete
  3. Sounds like a big Hail Mary that gets batted away. He’s screwed. He’s in US custody. He’s not getting back out anytime soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bro should have gone to Dubai with his millions instead of miami

      Delete
  4. Free this man. Usa politicians do the same thing. Luna is basicly an American

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mexico is part of the Americas.

      Delete
    2. Research the man, and you will learn a lot more, don't be lazy.

      Delete
    3. This man is where he belongs. He's a garbage human being responsible for a lot of death and destruction.

      Delete
  5. To my knowledge Garcia Luna,&, F. Calderon and 2 high ranking generals accepted $100 mil, from Lazcano to fake his death. The 2 generals retired 2 weeks before Calderon term. Lazcano reportedly killed 4 weeks before Calderon term. DNA was never a match from Lazcano buried parents & alive sister. He was the zeta that was snitching on his compadres. El Lucky, Squirrel, Taliban, Flavio Mendez, Hummer. He was the rat that cut a deal.

    ReplyDelete
  6. He should snitch on Calderon,what’s he waiting for!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Snitching on Calderon? Bro in whic Wonderland u live in? If he dare to do that he would be found third morning hanged with shoe lace for door handle in his prison cell....

    ReplyDelete
  8. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QjUafh8cLs&t=337s

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You could not say what it's related to?

      Delete
    2. Pokusao je meni naglavu nabit da su albanci jaci od bas..bolan...nek svako svoju koru hljeba zaradi...

      Delete
  9. genaro garcia luna, the shame of Mexico

    ReplyDelete
  10. Jail For Life and please throw away The Key This Murdered Should Be There For Life And His Familla Too .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But, but, but, but if you throw away the key, he won't be able to go shower, he won't be able to get haircuts at the commissary. He needs to let a fridge and oven in there too. What about when he wants a lady to visit her?

      Delete
  11. he will be sentenced then given reduced time for cooperating and free to enjoy his millions, typical uncle sam's BS

    ReplyDelete

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