P.R. Governor’s Legal Defense Strategy Revealed

Puerto Rican governor Anibal Acevedo Vilá made news yesterday when his legal defense team brought forth a motion to dismiss all 19 federal criminal charges against the governor, citing every minor technical reason imaginable – while not explicitly denying a single charge.

The motion 52-page motion calls the charges brought against the governor “a parody” and refers to the whole process as “an embarrassing waste of the taxpayer’s money.” It also offers plausible explanations for the allegations brought forth and alleges faulty legal reasoning for some of the charges:

  • Tax evasion – the Governor will testify and prove to the court that he had no knowledge of the alleged conspiracy to evade taxes, if it ever existed.
  • Misuse of campaign funds – the trip to China taken by the governor’s family was actually to accompany a congressional delegation on an official visit. Also, the governor’s trips to Florida (also financed by campaign funds) were actually stop-overs while he was on his way to Washington, D.C., once for a 4th of July activity, and later for the firing of one of his administrative employees.
  • Bribery – the “luxurious dinners” that Acevedo Vilá was treated to by Mondre Energy, The Goldenberg Group, and Chitwood, Harley, Harnes LLC are not enough to allege bribery. There is no evidence that Acevedo Vilá had any influence in the decisions to grant government contracts to these companies, and in the case of Mondre, the dinner in question took place AFTER the contract was awarded.

According to the El Nuevo Día article on the subject, the motion goes on to allege a lack of federal jurisdiction in the matter – it also seems to state that the governor should actually be subject to Puerto Rico’s Electoral Law rather than the Federal Election Campaign Act, which, according to the indictment, governs the reporting of contributions for all federal candidates, including candidates to the office of Resident Commissioner of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

My take? The content of the governor’s legal defense is hardly surprising given the level of detail and number of charges included in the indictment against him, although it doesn’t seem like a defense based on legal technicalities and alternate interpretations of documented facts will do much for Acevedo Vila’s credibility given his earlier claims of complete innocence.

Stay tuned for more…

Read about the charges (Vocero link)local copy.

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One Response to “P.R. Governor’s Legal Defense Strategy Revealed”

  1. […] DubLab has the round up on the scandal involving Puerto Rican Governor Anibal Acevedo Vilá. […]

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