The trial of the former president of HondurasJuan Orlando Hernández, who was going to start on Monday in a New York court, has been postponed until February 20, one of his lawyers confirmed this Saturday.
The postponement of the trial was due to the fact that “the government (prosecutor’s office) confirmed that it could not comply with the delivery of the classified information redaction” that they should have delivered to the defense the day before, lawyer Raymond Colon confirmed to AFP.
Hernández, who until now has claimed his innocence, will be tried alone in Manhattan’s southern federal court after two co-defendants, former Honduran police chief Juan Carlos “Tigre” Bonilla and former police officer Mauricio Hernández, pleaded in recent days. guilty of drug trafficking.
Extradited to New York in April 2022, the 55-year-old former president is accused of participating in and protecting a network that sent more than 500 tons of cocaine to the United States between 2004 and 2022.
In exchange, he would have received “millions of dollars” from the drug cartels, including the Mexican drug trafficker. Joaquín “Chapo” Guzmánsentenced to life imprisonment in the United States.
The drug money helped him enrich himself and “finance his political campaign and commit electoral fraud” in the presidential elections of 2013 and 2017claims the accusation.
If found guilty of the three charges brought against him by the prosecution – drug trafficking, trafficking and possession of weapons – he could be sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years, like his brother Tony Hernández and his collaborator Geovanny Fuentes, who participated in the same network.
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His wife, Ana García, who considers the former president’s arrest as “political persecution,” reacted this Saturday on
– Fourth postponement –
Lawyer Renato Stabile, who joined Hernández’s defense two weeks ago to help the owner Raymond Colonwith health problems, asked the judge this week for a new postponement, alleging lack of time to study the voluminous incriminating material.
He also requested jury selection through a questionnaire to ensure impartiality. Investigating judge Kevin Castel denied both requests on Thursday.
With this, there are already four postponements that the trial has suffered, which generates great expectations, since it is not common to see a former president (2014-2021) sit on the bench of justice in another country to respond to drug trafficking charges.
Last year, Mexico’s former Secretary of Homeland Security, Genaro García Luna, the highest-ranking Mexican official to sit on a bench in the United States, was found guilty of drug trafficking, among other charges, by a New York court. The announcement of his sentence is scheduled for March 1.
Faithful collaborator of the Republican government Donald Trump (2017-2021)JOH, the acronym of his name by which he is known in Honduras, came to boast of Washington’s praise for his government’s work in seizing drugs and fighting organized crime.
“He detained people who had no ties to him, but he protected others,” says former DEA agent, the US anti-drug agency, Mikel Vigil, to AFP.
JOH also has another trial pending in Honduras for fraud and money laundering.
– “Reminder” –
“No one is above the law,” Josette Altmann, general secretary of the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO) based in Costa Rica, told AFP, who believes that this case can be a “reminder for leaders throughout the world.” geopolitical spectrum” of legal repercussions but above all of “reputation” that “entails participation in misconduct.”
Since 2014, Honduras has extradited 38 people accused of drug trafficking to the United Stateswhere in addition to Tony Hernandez and Geovanny Fuentes, Fabio Lobo, son of former president Porfirio Lobo (2010-2014), has already been sentenced to 24 years in prison, and former deputy Fredy Renán Nájera, to 30 years.
If found guilty, Hernández would follow in the wake of other former Latin American leaders convicted in the United States, such as Panamanian Antonio Manuel Noriega, in 1992, and Guatemalan Alfonso Portillo, in 2014.