Ex-Guaynabo mayor’s lawyers seek dismissal of corruption charges, say no explicit ‘quid pro quo’ est
Former Guaynabo Mayor Ángel Pérez Otero
By THE STAR STAFF
Lawyers for former Guaynabo Mayor Ángel Pérez Otero have asked the U.S. District Court to dismiss the charges that he awarded contracts to a company in exchange for bribes because the evidence fails to establish the explicit “quid pro quo,” or the granting of advantage in exchange for something.
Pérez Otero’s lawyers, Osvaldo Carlo Linares, Eduardo Ferrer Ríos and José R. Olmo Rodríguez, said in a petition dated Jan. 9 that the evidence suggests that the payments took the form of campaign contributions. Pérez Otero was indicted on charges he took payments from contractor Oscar Santamaria in exchange for contracts, something which the lawyers say is not established by the evidence.
“The appearing defendant requests the dismissal of the indictment in the instant action. Although the prosecution charged ex-mayor Angel Antonio Perez-Otero with bribery and extortion alleging that he awarded contracts to company ‘A’ in exchange for bribes and kickbacks paid by Oscar Santamaria in cash, the evidence provided by the government, during discovery, clearly suggests that the payments took the form of campaign contributions,” the document says. “Perez-Otero requests the dismissal of the indictment because it fails to allege an essential element of the charged violations of law and because it fails to allege a crime since it is missing an allegation of an explicit quid pro quo, as required by the Supreme Court.”
The lawyers noted that a Supreme Court holding in the case of McCormick’s “was that the pro itself must be clear and unambiguous and characterized by more than temporal proximity, winks and nods, and vague phrases like ‘let me see what I can do,’” the petition says.
To charge criminal liability where the conduct did not clearly involve an “explicit” quid pro quo would create a significant fair-warning problem. The prosecution was required not just to track the language of each relevant statute, but also to explicitly allege any implicit element of each statute,” the ex-mayor’s lawyers asserted.
In a radio interview, Carlo Linares said the indictment was deficient. Also, the attorney said, a photo showing Pérez Otero taking several envelopes is not part of the evidence. He said it was used by prosecutors to obtain a high amount in bail but that the photo is not evidence of a bribe.