Jury selection delays bribery trial of former PP chiefs

First day of proceedings against Camps and Costa hit by series of setbacks

The trial against the former Popular Party (PP) regional premier of Valencia, Francisco Camps, and the local PP ex-secretary general, Ricardo Costa, stumbled at the first hurdle on Monday. At press time, the jury selection process, which began at 10am, had still not been finalized.

Behind closed doors, the prosecution and defense must choose nine jurors and two substitutes to sit on the jury that will decide the guilt or innocence of both politicians in their alleged involvement with the Gürtel network, a wide-ranging kickbacks-for-contracts corruption ring. Both Camps and Costa stand accused of receiving tailored suits from Gürtel ringleaders in exchange for political favors in the awarding of public works contracts in the Valencia region.

More information
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Both the prosecution and defense has the right to recuse four candidates and it seems extremely likely that the lawyers acting for the PP officials will act to remove Beatriz Fababuj from the panel. Fababuj, it transpired last week, stood for election in the municipality of Alpuente in northern Valencia on the Socialist Party slate as a second substitute, although she later claimed she had intended to run as an independent. The defendants could have removed Fababuj from the picture during pre-trial jury selection proceedings, but their appeal came too late to be admitted by the judge.

Presiding Judge Juan Climent accepted the petitions to be excused by six potential jurors during the proceedings. Three are over 65, the age limit for jurors; one has a small child for whom temporary care is unavailable; another suffers from constant migraines; and the sixth one is pregnant, with her due date likely to fall within the trial period.

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