Buenos Aires, Argentina – Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner gave her fiery final word in her defense, calling allegations of corruption against her a “staged allegory designed to pull the hairs on the back of my neck in this trial”.
In his final arguments before a federal court on Friday, Argentina’s powerful vice president also linked the judicial proceedings to an assassination attempt on her earlier this month and suggested that some of behind the September 1 attack has yet to be arrested.
“Up until the beginning of September, I believed that all of this was only meant to stigmatize me, ban me, denigrate, smear me. But in early September, I realized that there might be something else behind all of this,” she said.
“It’s like the judicial sector is granting a social license so anyone can think or do anything.”
Friday’s hearing comes just weeks after a man pointed a pistol at Fernandez de Kirchner’s head amid a crowd of supporters who had gathered outside her Buenos Aires home to show support between corruption case. The attacker pull the triggerbut the gun doesn’t fire.
The assassination attracted widespread condemnation but it has had a negligible effect on public opinion of Fernandez de Kirchner, with polls this month pegging her positive image ratings between 24 and 34 percent.
In his speech to the court, Fernandez de Kirchner insisted that calling those currently charged in the assassination “authors of the material” – saying that “no one could have thought that the group had planned it” or “are the intellectual authors” of the attack.
The accused gunman, 35-year-old Fernando Andre Sabag Montiel, has been charged with attempted murder, along with his 23-year-old girlfriend Brenda Uliarte. Two other people were also arrest.
Friday marked Fernandez de Kirchner’s last chance to defend himself before a panel of three judges in Buenos Aires.
She was accused of leading “an illegal organization” and “aggravated administrative fraud” in a case covering the period from 2003 to 2015, in which she and her late husband, Nestor Kirchner, holds the post of President of Argentina.
Prosecutors say that during her time many years in leadership positionfrom 2007 to 2015, Fernandez de Kirchner helped illegally channel state funds into public road construction contracts awarded to companies owned by an affiliate of Kirchners in the province of Santa Cruz , the south of the country, which was their political stronghold.
A total of 51 contracts have been awarded to companies owned by Lazaro Baez, who is among 12 others charged in the road-building case. Baez was found guilty of money laundering in a separate case last year.
“When Nestor Kirchner took over as president of the nation, and then his wife… they installed and perpetuated in the provincial and national government of Santa Cruz, one of many unusual corruption mats. the most that ever existed in the country,” prosecutor Diego Luciani said in his remarks last month.
Estimated that $926 million was defrauded by the state, Luciani asked the court to sentence Fernandez de Kirchner to 12 years in prison for her role in the alleged scheme and to impose a lifetime ban on her keeping public office.
That activated massive demonstrations support her outside of her home, including where the assassination took place.
In court on Friday, Carlos Beraldi, Fernandez de Kirchner’s lawyer, reviewed the prosecutors’ allegations, which he said had no substantiated facts.
Using witness testimony from the trial, he denied allegations that the road work was unfinished, overvalued or delayed. He also said the cost of the alleged fraud was not a serious estimate. “Cristina Kirchner has never issued any directives regarding the works under investigation,” Beraldi said.
Fernandez de Kirchner said prosecutors in this case should be investigated for the “astonishing lies” they propagated, adding that allegations that she headed an illegal organization The law is illogical and unconstitutional. “We were elected by the people. She said.
Judgment in this case could be made as soon as December or early next year, when Argentina There will be a presidential election.
“This case is important because there are political actors,” Argentinian political analyst Ricardo Rouvier told Al Jazeera.
The impact of next year’s federal election is still unclear, he added. “We’ll have to see what the outcome is.”