Colombia’s Supreme Court on Thursday began deliberating whether to file criminal charges against former President Alvaro Uribe and if so, whether to send him to jail or not.
Uribe’s defense appears to believe the court has enough evidence to file fraud and bribery charges as the former president’s attorney, Jaime Granados, reiterated a previous request not to send Uribe to jail.
Magistrate Cesar Reyes has been investigating the evidence and considering the testimonies since October last year and presented his conclusions to the court on Thursday.
With the exception of magistrate Cristina Lombana, who is not allowed anywhere near Uribe investigations because she used to be the former president’s underling, the court is now deliberating Reyes’ conclusions.
These conclusions would include a formal advice to either press or drop formal charges, and whether or not to jail the former president over his alleged attempt to bribe witnesses to file fraudulent charges against opposition Senator Ivan Cepeda.
Uribe’s 2014 charges against the senator who made the testimonies of former paramilitary fighters who claimed the former president and his backfired after the court found evidence witnesses had been bribed.
In a 2018 ruling that absolves Cepeda, the court ordered the investigation of Uribe, who has been tied to organized crime since the late 1970’s, but until that ruling had been able to evade justice.
The criminal charges created panic among Uribe and his legal defense team, which allegedly began looking for even more false witnesses to defend the former president while being wiretapped.
This led to even more evidence indicating the former president was bribing witnesses.
The crisis was complete when the first of Uribe’s witnesses admitted he received bribes by Uribe’s fixer, “gangstattorney” Diego Cadena, which resulted in the former fixer’s house arrest since Monday.
While Granados and Uribe are visibly concerned, the magistrate investigating the former president and the court have kept the investigation and Reyes’ advice hermetically secret.
The assassination of one witness and the discovery of spying equipment in both Reyes’ office and home have put the court on red alert over the investigation into Colombia’s arguably most powerful politician.