On the 12th day of Colombia’s trial of the century, the Supreme Court is set to hear a former chief prosecutor and his deputy over former President Alvaro Uribe’s alleged criminal practices.
The most prominent witnesses are former Prosecutor General Eduardo Montealegre and the former Vice-Prosecutor General who initiated criminal investigations in 2011 after one of the key witnesses claiming that the Uribe family formed a death squad survived an assassination attempt.
Witness #35 | Eduardo Soto
Who Eduardo Soto is and how he may be tied to Uribe’s alleged fraud and bribery practices is unclear.
Witness #36 | Eduardo Montealegre
Eduardo Montealegre is Colombia’s former Prosecutor General. He got involved in the case almost immediately after taking office in 2012.
After having heard the testimony of former Bloque Metro members “Alberto Guerrero” and Juan Guillermo Monsalve, opposition Senator Ivan Cepeda filed criminal charges against Uribe.
Monsalve subsequently survived an assassination attempt and Cepeda alerted Montealegre again that he had been increasingly threatened with death after making Uribe’s alleged ties to the death squad public.
Montealegre’s office proceeded to investigate Uribes’ alleged paramilitary ties and the alleged assassination attempt of Monsalve, whose father was the former caretaker of Uribe’s Guacharacas estate where the Bloque Metro allegedly was trained.
Following a 2013 Medellin court order, both Montealegre and the Supreme Court were investigating Uribe’s alleged ties to the paramilitary group.
These investigations proceeded quietly until after the Supreme Court filed criminal charges last year against Uribe for allegedly trying to tamper witnesses related to these investigations.
In response, Uribe’s defense called in help from all kind of witnesses, ranging from former drug traffickers to corrupt prosecutors, who began accusing Montealegre and his deputy of conspiring against the former president.
The fight escalated. In May, Montealegre and his former deputy accused Uribe of being responsible for two massacres, an allegation that is currently being investigated by the Supreme Court.
A month later, one of Uribe’s lawyers, Abelardo de la Espriella, filed slander charges against the two.
Witness #37 | Jorge Perdomo
Jorge Perdomo is Colombia’s former vice-Prosecutor General who served under Montealegre between 2012 and 2016.
Perdomo led the prosecution’s investigation into ties between paramilitary groups, politicians and the private sector that had begun after the demobilization of paramilitary organization AUC between 2003 and 2006.
The former Vice-Prosecutor General was never the center of any controversy until last year when the Supreme Court filed the fraud and bribery charges against Uribe.
Until then, Uribe had claimed that he was the victim of a conspiracy led by Cepeda, but he broadened his conspiracy theory and included Montealegre and Perdomo with the help of witnesses who have been previously heard in the current trial, like former prosecutor Hilda Niño.
One of the witnesses, former drug trafficker “El Tuso,” backed out, however and requested the court to remove him from the witness list.
Meanwhile, the prosecution is looking into criminal charges filed against Perdomo and his former boss for claiming Uribe was complicit in two massacres, another case currently investigated by the Supreme Court.