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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Attorney for suspended Ponce mayor accuses SIP of concealing exculpatory evidence

Attorney José Antonio Andrew Fuentes

By The Star Staff

Attorney José Antonio Andrew Fuentes late last week requested the dismissal of the case against the suspended mayor of Ponce, Luis Manuel Irizarry Pabón, for violations of the Government Ethics Law and illicit enrichment, on the grounds that the affidavit of a witness filed with the Office of the Electoral Comptroller represents exculpatory evidence.

“Of course, because they hid the evidence in Rule 6 from us, because if they had given us that evidence in Rule 6, totally sculptural evidence, in all probability there would have been no probable cause,” Fuentes said Friday as he left the courthouse. “And those who were present here know that Rule 6 made this same statement, and by hiding the evidence from us, we could not have the document that proved it at hand. But if we had proven it, there would have been no probable cause. Of course, and what the people gave was political funds.”

Special Independent Prosecutor Zulma Fuster said “What the defense is doing is an act of total desperation.”

“Here, in the face of the forceful testimony that you heard this morning, what the defense does is use any excuse to take a breath and gain time,” she told reporters. “That’s what we’re seeing here, a delay of justice brought about by the defense in this case. There was no way to refute this morning’s testimony. [Fuentes] is not telling the truth and the accusations he makes in court that we are hiding evidence from him and that we are hiding exculpatory affidavits from him are totally mendacious. And it disrespects the court, these prosecutors and the people.”

Judge Daniel López González, brought in from the Caguas judicial district, gave both sides five days to draft their arguments, and then the judge will have another five days to make a determination on the matter.

For this reason, the witnesses were excused until April 10, when the date was set for the continuation of the case in the preliminary hearing stage.

Oscar Iván Nazario Segarra, former director of municipal public works in Ponce, described on Friday before Judge López González how he paid the personal loan of $50,000 at the request of Mayor Irizarry Pabón, during the second day of the preliminary hearing against the suspended mayor at the Ponce Judicial Center on four complaints for violations of articles 4.2 of the Government Ethics Law and 251 of the Penal Code for alleged unjustified enrichment.

The Office of the Special Independent Prosecutor Panel filed charges against Irizarry Pabón for allegedly soliciting money from muncipal employees to repay a $50,000 personal loan.

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