Mexico’s prosecutor apparently recorded an attempted jailing of his in-laws

A new set of tapes appear to show Mexico’s attorney general cursing a Supreme Court judge who disagreed with his request to keep the prosecutor’s in-laws locked up in jail

MEXICO CITY — A series of shocking recordings recently released appear to show Mexico’s attorney general cursing a Supreme Court justice who won’t agree to his request to keep the prosecutor’s in-laws locked up in jail.

A voice identified as that of Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero is heard on the audio, published by the newspapers on Friday, calling his niece an “asshole” and asking an aide how they can use the calls to prevent her from being released .

The tapes suggest that Gertz Manero obtained an advance copy of a proposed but not yet approved Supreme Court opinion which apparently recommended the release of his niece and also that he had engaged in a personal vendetta to punish his wife’s wife. brother and his family, whom he blamed for letting his brother die.

They also suggest the country’s top prosecutor doesn’t know much about the law: the person in the tapes asks an aide how the appeals process works.

Gertz Manero’s office did not say whether the tapes were genuine, but told local media it was investigating the leaked tapes, suggesting they were real.

The prosecutor blames his in-laws for the death of his brother, Federico Gertz Manero, in 2015, apparently of natural causes at the age of 82. Gertz Manero claims the family — his brother’s concubine, 95, and his children — failed to provide him with adequate medical care.

Due to her age, the oldest woman is not in jail, but her daughter, Alejandra Cuevas, 69, has been in jail for more than a year, awaiting trial for “homicide by omission”.

Asked about the tapes by The Associated Press, Cuevas’ son, Alonso Castillo, said they showed systematic violations by Gertz Manero’s office.

“There’s no end to crimes here,” Castillo said of the tapes. “One of the most serious is that the court appears to have sent the notice to the attorney general’s office. It is a crime because these are confidential documents.

“There is influence peddling, abuse of power,” Castillo said. “In other words, the implications of these recordings are enormous.”

Most attorneys general anywhere in the world would have had to recuse themselves from a case to which they had such obvious personal ties. Gertz Manero claimed his office handled the case like any other, remotely, which the records would clearly contradict.

The in-laws spent years appealing the case, and it eventually went to the Supreme Court, which is due to discuss it publicly on March 14. Mexican law requires the defense and prosecution to have equal access to these documents, something that has apparently not happened if the recordings are valid.

Worse still, the tapes suggest that Gertz Manero or his team personally discussed the decision with members of the Supreme Court.

Gertz Manero has already been accused of abusing his position.

He tried to lock 31 academics up in a maximum-security prison because he claims they improperly received around $2.5 million in government funding for science years ago. Laws at the time allowed for such funding, and the researchers say it was not badly spent.

The academic board involved had previously recommended not approving Gertz Manero’s application for formal recognition as a leading scholar.

Meanwhile, Gertz Manero did not condemn any of the figures involved in a major corruption scandal at state oil company Pemex that nearly bankrupted the company.

At one point, Gertz Manero threatened to press charges against US prosecutors for their investigation of Mexico’s former defense secretary in a drug trafficking case. Gertz Manero’s office quickly exonerated the former official after a summary investigation.

So far, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has supported Gertz Manero, whom he cannot fire directly; it would require congressional procedure. But critics say the attorney general’s actions belie the president’s key promise to root out government corruption.

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