A judge has warned suspended Bogota Mayor Samuel Moreno he could be tried in his absence after he missed a second court appearance to answer to corruption charges on Thursday.
Moreno originally had been due to appear in court on July 29 but did not show up, claiming he had recently fired his lawyer and so had no defense.
The hearing was rescheduled to August 25 but again Moreno did not attend. This time Moreno’s lawyer, Jorge Arenas, said he had just taken the case and needed more time to familiarize himself with it.
The news provoked a furious response from the court judge, who told Arenas, “Dr. Samuel Moreno has forgotten the statutes of trying in absentia,” before warning the lawyer if they continued to try and delay the process he would appoint a court lawyer to Moreno and begin the process without him.
The hearing has now been rescheduled for September 19.
Moreno was suspended from his role as Bogota mayor in May for alleged irregularities in the awarding of public work contracts to the Nule Group firm. He is charged with extortion, embezzlement, malfeasance by omission and contracting without legal requirements.