Wannabe mayor’s criminal trial resumes

Martinelli in court

The hearing into illegal wiretapping of political opponents, journalists and businessmen allegedly ordered by Panama’s ex-president, Ricardo Martinelli who now wants to run for mayor will resume on Monday, November 19. 

The case was suspended September 28, when the period for presenting the evidence by prosecutor Harry Díaz, Martinelli’s defense attorneys and independent prosecutor Roseno Rivera ended.

The  Judge of Guarantees Jerónimo Mejía said he was going to devote time to analyze all the arguments presented by parties, “without haste but without pause”, to later announce in a public hearing, the evidence that he admitted and that will be used in the trial

In addition to Wednesday’s announcement of the hearing date, Judge Mejía responded to a request from Martinelli’s attorneys to make an assessment of his health status. The magistrate ruled the request  “non-viable”, based on the decision of the Plenary of the Court that it should be addressed to the Penitentiary System and not to the Court.

Martinelli has been detained in El Renacer prison since being extradited from the United States on June 11 after spending a year in a Miami detention center.

He was extradited to face justice for the alleged inviolability of secrecy and right to privacy, and crimes against the public administration in the form of theft and embezzlement against in his term (2009-2014).

While in detention Martinelli won a candidacy for the deputy position of the circuit 8-8, in the CD Party primaries. At the same time, base sympathizers have initiated the collection of signatures for him to run for   Mayor of Panama in the 2019 elections,

Before his arrest and incarceration in Miami   Martinelli had boasted on Twitter that he would return in triumph to Panama and be greeted by cheering supporters on a cross-country triumphal parade.

The Supreme Court has denied him three appeals to leave prison.