The federal judge in New York, Victor Morrero, said that would not grant another extension because it has postponed at least twice in the trial against the former governor, accused of drug trafficking.
- Federal Judge denies extension for Mario Villanueva in the United States
New York. – A New York federal judge rejected once again the trial postponement of former Mexican governor Mario Villanueva Madrid, so it remains on schedule for early October and the verdict before the end of 2012.
During a hearing held on Friday, Judge Victor Marrero rejected an additional 90 days to postpone the trial, as requested by the new lawyers of former governor of the southern Mexican state of Quintana Roo, David Zapp and his daughter Johanna.
Marrero said the court has its deadlines and would not grant a further extension, especially because it has postponed at least twice in the trial, which includes allegations of both drug trafficking and money laundering.
The judge said it would take about six weeks to conclude the trial, whose verdict will be decided unanimously by a jury composed of 12 citizens chosen at random.
During today’s hearing, Zapp said that they had just taken the case, in relief of attorney Linda George, who in turn replaced David Segal – and required additional time to study the evidence relied on by prosecutors to file charges. Zapp, a lawyer for Panamanian origin which was communicated in Spanish with Villanueva Madrid during the hearing, was also the legal representative for less than a year for the Mexican businessman of Chinese origin Ye Gon on charges of trafficking pseudoephedrine.
Speaking to the media after the hearing, Zapp said the request to postpone the trial of Villanueva Madrid was not a strategy to delay the case resolution but simply because he had just started his performance. He further clarified that the change is normal firm that has made Villanueva, who simply felt more comfortable with Zapp and the fact that he spoke Spanish. “The irony is that someone can have the idea of seeking to postpone the trial. He (Villanueva) would like to end this as soon as possible to prove his innocence. And as they say in America: Prove it or shut up, “said Zapp.
The lawyer reiterated that Villanueva was in a good mood and healthy, according to Zapp, is convinced of his innocence, and hopes to present the evidence to prove it. Zapp said the case is “a political issue in Mexico,” but ruled out completely the court and federal prosecutors in New York to take into account the case elements that were not strictly legal.
He further stated that at trial the prosecution presented a series of witnesses who “have little incentive to lie,” for they were dealers and drug offenders who would be offered a reduction of his sentence should cooperate with the prosecution.
The prosecutor “knows how to get some witnesses to agree with them and tell them that by working together can reduce their sentence” said Zapp.
Villanueva was extradited to the U.S. on May 10, 2010 accused of accepting millions of dollars in bribes from the Juarez cartel in exchange for facilitating the export of 200 tons of cocaine into the United States, according to authorities federal Americans.
The former governor was indicted for the crime of money laundering, after allegedly laundered about $ 19 million in drug money through accounts at the now defunct investment bank Lehman Brothers, among other.
If convicted, Villanueva would face a minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum of life imprisonment on charges of drug trafficking, and a minimum of 20 years for each of the 14 charges of money laundering.