Former Sen. Mari Tere González in court with ‘head held high’
SAN JUAN – The preliminary hearing against former Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Sen. Mari Tere González was postponed until further notice after her defense argued it needs the court declarations of convicted party fundraiser Anaudi Hernández.
It was about 9:10 a.m. when Judge Rafael Enrique Taboas Dávila called the criminal case against the former senator, who faces 13 charges for violation of the Ethics Law, perjury, transfer of false documents and false statements.
Visibly nervous, González stood in front of the bench of the presiding judge in Room 606 of the Court of San Juan, and immediately her lawyer, Yuseph Lamboy, asked the judge to postpone the preliminary hearing.
“This case is the product of a federal case. We asked for the transcript and it was not delivered to us. These statements are prior statements that are relevant to the preliminary hearing. My representative is calm, trusts the process, and at the end of the day everyone is going to realize who the real criminal is in this case. He’s called Anaudi Hernández and Héctor Vargas,” Lamboy said on his way out of the courtroom.
Independent Special Prosecutors Leticia Pabón and Ramón Mendoza objected to the cancellation of the hearing, while assuring the judge that they were ready to present evidence with which they seek the court find cause for judgment against the former senator.
Former PDP fundraiser Anaudi Hernández and Juan Báez stood as a witnesses next to González, but the former legislator did not look directly at her former friend and now witness against her.
“I am calm at the moment, with my family and head held high,” González said when leaving the courtroom.
The judge scheduled a status hearing for April 21 to know if González’s defense obtained the transcripts of the testimonies of Hernández and his former associate Héctor Vargas.
Vargas and oncologist Rolando Jiménez are also witnesses against González, and although both were present, prosecutor Pabón said they were inside the courtroom.
At the conclusion of the hearing, the former PDP fundraiser hurried to the elevator without making any comments.
For his part, prosecutor Mendoza explained that the investigation against the former senator continues even though 13 charges have already been filed.
Also Read: 13 criminal charges filed against former Sen. Mari Tere González
“There is an extension of the investigation regarding this and other issues related to the case, which you know publicly, are pending, which is the case of [former House Speaker Jaime] Perelló. At the moment we are continuing the investigation…for which we still have some things left…,” the prosecutor said.
On March 7, the Puerto Rico Office of the Special Independent Prosecutor’s Panel filed 13 charges against the former senator. On Sept. 7, González testified in federal court as part of the public corruption case against several officials, and that day took advantage of her right against self-incrimination when asked if Hernández paid debts related to her campaign.
In the federal trial, both Hernández and Vargas said they had asked the senator for help to intercede for Sally López’s confirmation to the Labor Development Administration.
Both federal witnesses and now independent prosecutors’ witnesses testified that they paid González’s campaign debts.
In the federal trial, defendants Sally López, Ivonne and Marielis Falcón Nieves, and Glenn Rivera Pizarro were found guilty of all criminal charges against them. The convicts will be sentenced by federal judge Pedro Delgado on March 30.