The newspaper El Universal issued a statement denying that it received money from Mexico’s former Secretary of Public Security.
The defense of the former Secretary of Public Security of Mexico Genaro Garcia Luna requested that the alleged evidence that a witness was going to present about alleged bribes that the former official would have paid to the newspaper El Universal should not be taken into account.
This was established by Garcia Luna’s lawyers in a letter addressed to Judge Brian Cogan, in which they ask him to annul the appearance of Hector Villarreal Hernandez, a collaborating witness called by the prosecutors.
“Government [que en este juicio es la parte acusatoria] urges the court to simply abide by its decision, issued last summer, possibly allowing testimony about Garcia Luna’s alleged bribery of a newspaper to suppress negative coverage“, says the letter.
The lawyers take up the arguments of the prosecutors, who consider that it was the defense itself that opened the door to this testimony by repeatedly pointing out that the former official was very famous in Mexico and was frequently in the news.
“The Government asserts that, given the immense focus the defense has already placed on public reporting about him and his reputation at trial, it would be misleading for the jury to prevent evidence from being presented about him. the defendant’s efforts to manipulate that reputation through bribery to El Universal“, affirms the letter, in which the lawyers consider that the request of the prosecutors does not make much sense for the development of the trial.
“The fact is that no positive or negative news about Mr. Garcia Luna is relevant or admissible,” they maintain when requesting that neither the articles published in the press nor any testimony related to this issue be accepted, since the court must only decide with based on facts and evidence.
For this reason, they add, the court must prevent the witness from declaring both the payment of bribes to El Universal, as well as the meaning of the stories published in the media.
The situation is paradoxical, because until now it was unknown what Villarreal Hernandez could contribute, but the ex-secretary’s own lawyers revealed the accusations that they do not want to be heard by the court and that involve one of the most important newspapers in the country.
El Universal responded to the accusations and completely denied having received bribes from Garcia Luna.
“This publishing house considers that testimonials are only serious and credible when accompanied by evidence that sustain them,” he pointed out, stating that what has been proven is that the newspaper always maintained “balanced and critical coverage” of the administration of Garcia Luna.
“One of them is that, in 2011, El Universal won the National Journalism Award in the news category for a job that denounced the millionaire spending made by the Ministry of Public Security, then under the command of Garcia Luna, to produce a television series to promote the image of the Federal Police. This is proof,” he argued.
Meanwhile, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador defended this Monday that society should know if Garcia Luna actually bribed the media.
“It is striking that Genaro Garcia Luna’s lawyers say that the version of a witness who talks that he handed over resources to a Mexican newspaper (El Universal) is not released, the same lawyers that do not, I as a Mexican say yes, everything”: @lopezobrador_pic.twitter.com/0h6kjMyovo
– Salvador Zaragoza Andrade (@SalvadorZA) February 6, 2023
“Yesterday it came out that the lawyers do not want the version of a witness who speaks of Garcia Luna, or the Secretary of Security, handing over resources to a newspaper in Mexico to be released. The same lawyers say: ‘not that’. I I say, as a Mexican: ‘that yes’. Of course, (let it be known) everything,” he declared.
Lopez Obrador recalled that during the government of former President Felipe Calderon, when Garcia Luna was the powerful Secretary of Public Security, official propaganda about the arrests of drug traffickers abounded. He even broadcast two of those ‘spots’ during his press conference.
“Of course Since they distributed money, a lot of money to the media, this can be said to be publicity”said the president, who is analyzing daily what is happening in the trial against Garcia Luna, whom the US government arrested in December 2019 and accused him of alleged complicity with the Sinaloa Cartel.