The high-priced battery of lawyers striving to save Panama’s ex-president Ricardo Martinelli from spending many of his remaining years behind bars spent most of the three hours of Tuesday’s Supreme Court indictment hearing presenting the list of witnesses and the evidence they will use, and then they threw the Judge a surprise curveball asking for yet another medical evaluation.
Martinelli is charged with illegal interception of communications of at least 150 opposition politicians, journalists, businessmen, and lawyers. The prosecuting magistrate Harry Diaz has called for a 21-year jail term. The ex-ruler is also under investigation in another dozen cases of alleged corruption and embezzlement involving scores of millions of dollars.
Before the judge of guarantees, Jerónimo Mejía, the defense announced 28 witnesses, 87 documents and three expert opinions.of which Diaz, said that he would object to 21, and asked Judge Mejía four working days to examine them.
Mejía agreed to the request and denied an objection from the lawyer Sidney Sittón pointing out that the defense has had since 2015 to review the files.
In another episode one of the Martinelli lawyers Holland Polo asked Judge Mejía to order the re-evaluation of the medical condition of her client and that it be done by the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences (Imelcf).
Mejía said he was confused by such a request because, after June 11 and 12, when Martinelli was examined, until now there has not been a new incident regarding his health condition that allows him to order a re-evaluation.
Mejía said: “Martinelli's state of health is reflected in the documents, you want to know the state of health, there are the papers” referring to the opinion of the doctors who have treated him.
“If this is not an expert test, what is it? It sounds like expert evidence and an expert evidence is based on making a request, this is what has me tangled up," said Mejía.
Polo responded that they are not asking for an expert evidence or that a precautionary measure is given because it is not the judge's competence.
Prosecutor Díaz questioned that the issue of health continues to be raised. on this judicial platform
Mejia said;"I'm clear about how I'll have to make the decision,", and closed the hearing and until Wednesday, September 26.