On the second day of Colombia’s trial of the century, the Supreme Court will be hearing one corrupt prosecutor, a former paramilitary and an unknown convict who have been called to defend former President Alvaro Uribe.
The former president’s defense attorney, Jaime Granados, appears to be trying to evade the criminal charges that Uribe used fraud and bribery to falsely accuse opposition Senator Ivan Cepeda of witness tampering.
Instead and despite evidence indicating the contrary, Granados has called in witnesses who have doubled down on Uribe’s claim he is the victim of a conspiracy that was discarded by the same court in February last year.
Witness #2 | Hilda Niño
Hilda Niño is a former prosecutor of transitional justice system Justicia y Paz who took bribes from extradited drug trafficker “El Mellizo.”
As part of a plea bargain with the Prosecutor General’s Office, she promised in July to pay the $72,000 in July she admitted having received from “El Mellizo.” She also vowed to reveal an alleged conspiracy by former Prosecutor General Eduardo Montealegre and former vice-Prosecutor General Jorge Perdomo against former President Alvaro Uribe and his brother Santiago.
The court has so far refused to sign off on the plea bargain because, according to wiretap transcripts, she had been conspiring with Diego Cadena, one of Uribe’s lawyers, for more than a year to fabricate these claims.
These wiretaps are part of the evidence against Uribe and could get the corrupt prosecutor in even more legal trouble than she already is.
Witness #3 | “Sinai”
“Sinai” is a former low-ranking commander of the AUC‘s Northern Bloc who was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2014 for taking part in the 2001 homicide of Gustavo Soler, the president of the labor union of employees of US mining company Drummond.
In an attempt to drop the ruling that absolved Cepeda of witness tampering charges and triggered the fraud and bribery charges, Cadena gave the court letters “allegedly produced” by “Sinai” and two other prisoners who weren’t initially involved in the case against the opposition Senator.
Uribe said in July last year that his attorney contacted “Sinai” and the others, “because of some information” given to one of his assistants by a woman called Angela Lopez. It is unclear who this woman is or what is in the letters Cadena gave to the court.
Cadena, allegedly one of the key figures in Uribe’s alleged fraud and bribery practices, will be heard on Friday.
Witness #4 | Giovany Cadavid
Little is known about Giovany Cadavid, other than that he is serving time in the Combita prison with Sinai.
Like “Sinai,” Cadavid “allegedly produced” a letter to support the failed attempt to drop the criminal charges against Uribe and is now expected to confirm whatever he wrote in that letter under oath.
Witness #5 | “El Poli”
El Poli is a former AUC member who is serving 30 years in prison for the 2007 assassination of a Liberal Party mayoral candidate in the northern Cesar province.
Like Sinai and Cadavid, El Poli “allegedly produced” a letter to support the failed attempt to drop the criminal charges against Uribe and is now expected to confirm the content of that letter under oath.