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Prosecutors in the Chapo trial have filed a secret motion seeking to limit the testimony of a witness. The motion is sealed so we don't know which witness or what the government is trying to keep out of the case.
But the motion comes hours after testimony that @EPN was bribed.
All we know is that the motion cites Federal Rules of Evidence 402 and 403.
Those rules forbid testimony that is irrelevant the crimes charged at the trial or that could prejudice or confuse a jury.
On Monday Judge Brian Cogan issued an order about secrecy in the case responding to letters from @nytimes and @VICE.
He told prosecutors that if they want to keep sealing files they have to say why. If he agrees, he will put on the record his own reasons for the sealing.
Fascinating new twist about the govt's sealed motion. It was about the bribes paid to President Pena Nieto (and others.) The motion may be unsealed soon by Judge Cogan. In the meantime, there was a conversation about it in court this morning.
The basics:
Judge Cogan noted that the prosecutors never offered evidence of the bribe themselves and may not in fact believe the witness, Alex Cifuentes, who said Chapo paid $100 million to Pena Nieto.
Judge Cogan pointed out that Cifuentes merely claimed that Chapo had told him about the bribe. Maybe, he added, the govt doesn't think Chapo was being "entirely candid."
"Or maybe they're desperately trying to protect the Mexican govt," said Jeff Lichtman, one of Chapo's lawyers.
Judge Cogan admitted that was possible, but also told Lichtman that in either case, he wasn't sure how this whole line of testimony bore upon the guilt or innocence of his client.
We'll know more if and when the motion is unsealed but it's a weird one.
On one hand there's testimony by a cooperating witness that Chapo bribed Pena Nieto.
On the other the govt seems to be claiming that it doesn't fully believe that same witness who was used against Chapo.
So the government's secret motion has just been unsealed & this seems like news.
There were hints early on that AMLO had been tainted, if only by association, by corruption. Prosecutors are now saying that someone associated w/AMLO's failed campaign over 10 yrs ago took a bribe.
Here's the quote:
"The bribe in question had been paid to an individual associated with the failed presidential campaign, over a decade ago, of the current president of Mexico. The bribe was not paid, as the defense had promised, to the current president."
The motion also says that, according to Alex Cifuentes, Oscar Naranjo, the VP of Colombia until Aug 2018, "provided the Cifuentes family with protection, and obtained payment by Cifuentes-Villa’s now-deceased brother, Francisco."
Prosecutors accused the defense of eliciting this testimony "to create a public sideshow in an attempt to damage U.S. foreign relations." (Wow.)
They also said the defense wanted to "publicly damage" Pena Nieto--the president who extradited Chapo--to retaliate for being on trial.
This is the early hint about AMLO, I was referring to. The person in question here was later identified as Gabriel Regino (denied the accusation.)
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