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El Chapo Trial: Former Mexican President Peña Nieto Took $100 Million Bribe, Witness Says

On the stand, Mr. Cifuentes admitted to hatching a failed homicide plot with the Hell’s Angels in Canada. He said purchasing plastic explosives from the widow of a Honduran drug trafficker. He stated he paid a pass judgement on in Ecuador $500,000 to throw out the case of an Ecuadorean army officer accused of running with the cartel, including that he later helped kidnap the officer when it appeared that he was once dishonest Mr. Guzmán.

There have been lurid hints that high Mexican leaders would possibly were compromised by way of grimy cash from the beginning of the trial in November. In his opening commentary, Mr. Lichtman claimed his shopper have been framed for years by way of a conspiracy hatched by way of his spouse, Ismael Zambada García, in league with “crooked” American drug brokers and a “completely corrupt” Mexican executive, together with two of its presidents.

At the time, Mr. Peña Nieto and Mr. Calderón launched statements calling the accusations false. The pass judgement on within the case, Brian M. Cogan, later cautioned Mr. Lichtman in opposition to making guarantees to the jury that the proof within the case would now not toughen.

Then, as the primary week of the trial got here to an finish, Mr. Guzmán’s attorneys knowledgeable Judge Cogan at a sidebar convention coming witness, Jesus Zambada García, Ismael Zambada’s brother, would testify, if requested, that Mexican presidents had taken bribes from the Sinaloa drug cartel.

But Judge Cogan forbade the testimony, mentioning the embarrassment it might motive to unnamed “individuals and entities” who have been indirectly concerned within the case.

On Tuesday, then again, Judge Cogan allowed Mr. Cifuentes to testify about what he knew regarding bribes to Mexican presidents with only some interruptions.

At one level, below wondering by way of Mr. Lichtman, Mr. Cifuentes said that his private assistant, Andrea Velez Fernandez, had labored for a political advisor, J.J. Rendón, who was once employed by way of Mr. Peña Nieto’s presidential marketing campaign. Mr. Cifuentes stated Ms. Velez had as soon as despatched him pictures of “suitcases filled with cash.”

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