The defense of Colombia’s former President Alvaro Uribe asked the Supreme Court not to throw their client in jail while investigating fraud and bribery charges, according to newspaper El Tiempo.
The newspaper reported on the request on the day that the Supreme Court formalized the fraud and bribery charges against House Representative Alvaro Hernan Prada of Uribe’s Democratic Center party.
The formalization of Prada followed a day after Uribe’s fixer, mafia lawyer Diego Cadena, was interrogated by the prosecution and triggers a 10-day period in which in the court is expected to formally file or drop the charges.
With that decision, the court may decide to send Uribe and Prada to jail for the duration of the trial.
The Prosecutor General’s Office did not immediately announce if it would formalize charges against the self-proclaimed “abogangster” who is accused of a series of crimes.
All three are under investigation over alleged attempts to discredit and manipulate witnesses who have claimed that the Uribe family formed a death squad in the 1990s when the former president was governor.
Prada allegedly tried to coerce key witness Juan Guillermo Monsalve, the son of the former caretaker of the Uribes’ Guacharacas estate and former member of the Bloque Metro paramilitary group.
Uribe and Cadena allegedly tried to do the same and allegedly bribed witnesses to discredit a second key witness, former paramilitary commander “Alberto Guerrero,” who also claimed Uribe and his brother former the Bloque Metro.
The court case is historic; no former president in the history of Colombia has been called to respond to criminal charges before the Supreme Court.
Uribe’s concerns he may be imprisoned may be well-founded as the court reportedly has evidence that the former president and his fixer were trying to obstruct justice by stepping up their alleged bribery practices while under investigation.