El Chapo Trial: Former Mexican President Peña Nieto Took $100 Million Bribe, Witness Says

On the stand, Mr. Cifuentes admitted to hatching a failed homicide plot with the Hell’s Angels in Canada. He acknowledged shopping for plastic explosives from the widow of a Honduran drug trafficker. He stated he paid a choose in Ecuador $500,000 to throw out the case of an Ecuadorean army officer accused of working with the cartel, including that he later helped kidnap the officer when it appeared that he was dishonest Mr. Guzmán.

There had been lurid hints that prime Mexican leaders may need been compromised by soiled cash from the beginning of the trial in November. In his opening assertion, Mr. Lichtman claimed his shopper had been framed for years by a conspiracy hatched by his accomplice, Ismael Zambada García, in league with “crooked” American drug brokers and a “completely corrupt” Mexican authorities, together with two of its presidents.

At the time, Mr. Peña Nieto and Mr. Calderón launched statements calling the accusations false. The choose within the case, Brian M. Cogan, later cautioned Mr. Lichtman towards making guarantees to the jury that the proof within the case wouldn’t help.

Then, as the primary week of the trial got here to an finish, Mr. Guzmán’s attorneys knowledgeable Judge Cogan at a sidebar convention coming witness, Jesus Zambada García, Ismael Zambada’s brother, would testify, if requested, that Mexican presidents had taken bribes from the Sinaloa drug cartel.

But Judge Cogan forbade the testimony, citing the embarrassment it could trigger to unnamed “individuals and entities” who weren’t immediately concerned within the case.

On Tuesday, nonetheless, Judge Cogan allowed Mr. Cifuentes to testify about what he knew regarding bribes to Mexican presidents with only some interruptions.

At one level, beneath questioning by Mr. Lichtman, Mr. Cifuentes acknowledged that his private assistant, Andrea Velez Fernandez, had labored for a political advisor, J.J. Rendón, who was employed by Mr. Peña Nieto’s presidential marketing campaign. Mr. Cifuentes stated Ms. Velez had as soon as despatched him pictures of “suitcases filled with cash.”

Source link Nytimes.com

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