A video in which presidential candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga was briefed on allegedly illegally obtained military information was “manipulated and edited,” the politician’s attorney said Monday.
Jaime Granados, the shared attorney of Zuluaga and his political patron, former President Alvaro Uribe, said that the video released by Semana magazine on Saturday showing the presidential hopeful was “manipulated and edited.”
Granados made the case to radio station, Blu Radio, that videos are edited all the time, and that one couldn’t be sure if Zuluaga was actually in the video or just “supplanted” within it.
“In the past we have been able to detect traces of supplanting people or using images of people in video and audio, [and we can detect] supplanting words and sounds through manipulation and editing,” said Zuluaga’s lawyer.
When pressed if he believes the man in the film is Zuluaga, Granados affirmed, “This is something that we still do not know.”
The lawyer added that he will file criminal charges over the video this coming Wednesday before the Prosecutor General’s office because “the infiltration of a presidential campaign is very serious [especially] when there has been a false document created in order to sabotage a presidential campaign.”
The Video That Started It All
Electoral tensions rose to a boiling point on Saturday, when a video appeared of Zuluaga discussing classified intelligence regarding the FARC and the rebel group’s ongoing peace talks with the government.
This past Saturday, Semana released a video allegedly showing “hacker” Andres Sepulveda briefing Zuluaga and his former campaign manager on classified information regarding ongoing peace talks between the Colombian government and the nation’s oldest living rebel group, the FARC. Zuluaga had previously claimed he hand never dealt directly with the alleged hacker.
The video reveals Sepulveda informing the presidential hopeful of his intelligence work, which contained military intelligence reports and allegedly classified information that had come from the US Army.
The release of the video cause immediate backlash against the opposition candidate.
According to Zuluaga however, the video was a “montage” aimed at torpedoing his presidential ambitions.
Uribe, Zuluaga’s political patron, said the entire scandal was a set-up orchestrated by Juan Jose Rendon, the former political strategist of President Juan Manuel Santos, who was forced to resign from Santos’ reelection campaign. The Venezuelan spin doctor became the center of controversy after news broke he allegedly received $12 million from Colombia’s top drug lords to facilitate the drug trafficking organizations’ dismantling and surrender to authorities.
Less than a week before Colombians take to the polls to choose their leader for the next four years, the Prosecutor General’s Office has said that they will not take action against Zuluaga regarding this video until they hear official testimony from his former campaign manager and Sepulveda, who is currently in custody.
Prior to this wiretapping scandal, which broke almost two weeks ago causing the resignation of his campaign manager, Luis Alfonso Hoyos, Zuluaga was predicted by every national poll to challenge Santos in a second round run-off between the two candidates.
Colombia’s elections are set for May 25. If none of the candidates know to obtain an absolute majority in the election, a run-off between the two leading candidates will be held on June 15. The new president will be inaugurated on August 7.