Five of the 13 defendants in the Highway case will have the opportunity this Friday to speak for the last time before the court that is trying them, in the last stage of the debate, prior to the verdict that will be known before the end of the year.
From 9.30, The Federal Oral Court (TOF) 2 ordered that the owner of “Austral Construcciones” Lázaro Báez, former officials of the National Directorate of National Roads in Santa Cruz, Mauricio Collareda and Raúl Daruich, the former Minister of Federal Planning, be able to say their “last words”. Julio De Vido and the former Undersecretary of Public Works Abel Fatala.
This stage prior to the verdict is not mandatory for the defendants, who will have to be present at the virtual hearing, to answer the magistrates’ question regarding whether or not they wish to speak for the last time.
The debate is carried out by videoconference, through the Zoom platform.
The schedule established by judges Rodrigo Giménez Uriburu, Andrés Basso and Jorge Gorini provides that on Tuesday the 29th Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, former Santa Cruz Highway official Héctor Garro, former Federal Planning official Carlos Kirchner will have the opportunity to say their final words. and the former Secretary of Public Works José López.
The court must then set a date to give the last four defendants the opportunity to speak.and based on that decision it will be known when he will pronounce his verdict, which must be issued on the same day that the last of them speaks.
They are the ex-responsible for Provincial Roads in Santa Cruz Raúl Pavesi, José Santibañez and Juan Carlos Villafañe and the former head of the National Directorate of Roads in Kirchnerism, Nelson Periotti.
The trial for the alleged directing of public works in Santa Cruz between 2003 and 2015 in favor of Báez companies began in May 2019 in the federal courts of Retirowas interrupted for six months by the Covid-19 pandemic and resumed virtually in August 2020, without ever recovering full face-to-face.
Throughout the more than three years of the trial, the court heard 114 witnesses in 117 hearings.
In relation to the verdict, it is expected that it will also be announced in a virtual hearing, unless one of the parties requests to be present in the Retirement courts for that moment.
The defenses of all the defendants demanded that they be acquitted for the non-existence of a crime.
“The accusations were dismantled, destroyed,” said lawyer Carlos Beraldi, defender of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, closing his final argument with a request for acquittal last September.
That day, the Vice President also used her right as a lawyer to exercise her own defense and spoke before the judges
“Me impunity? If you want to look for impunity, look the other way,” replied the former president. Macri, others were going to play with Macri at Olivos”he questioned.
In addition, he maintained that the accusation was a “fable” set up to bring it “by the hair” before Justice, that in the case “the national Constitution was violated” and that the prosecutors committed “prevaricato”.
In a plea, which spanned nine hearings and ended on August 22, prosecutors Diego Luciani and Sergio Mola asked that the former president be sentenced to 12 years in prison as the alleged head of an illicit association and fraudulent administration.
For Báez, the prosecutor’s office also claimed 12 years in prison as the alleged perpetrator of aggravated illicit association due to his capacity as organizer and primary participant in aggravated fraudulent administration.
In addition, they requested ten years in prison for De Vido and Periotti, and six years for Collareda and Villafañe.
It took five years for Daruich and Pavesi and four years for Fatala and Santibáñez.
As for Carlos Kirchner, the two prosecutors requested acquittal for illicit association and a two-year suspended sentence for abuse of power.