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Defense witness testimony not allowed at Camps trial

Line of questioning termed "irrelevant" by judge.

The defense in the bribery trial of former Valencia regional premier Francisco Camps continued on Thursday, calling more than a dozen witnesses who testified that at no time did they do anything to favor any of the companies set up by businessmen from the corrupt Gürtel network.

Camps' defense team tried to ask each one whether the former regional premier exerted any pressure on them or gave them instructions to favor anyone connected to Gürtel. But Judge Juan Climent told them that the line of questioning was "irrelevant" to the case.

Camps, 48, and former Popular Party (PP) secretary general Ricardo Costa, are on trial before Valencia's High Court on charges they received gifts, such as suits and dress accessories, from Gürtel businessmen. The judge has ruled that the two defendants are on trial for bribery unbecoming of public officials (cohecho impropio) and not for bribery in exchange for gain (cohecho propio). Climent explained that the lawyers were trying to defend Camps against a charge he is not even facing.

More information
Tax inspectors testify that Camps' dress suit receipts were altered

Nevertheless, the defense witnesses acknowledged that contracts that were awarded to Gürtel companies did not go through a public bidding process - a charge that the Valencia Socialist Party (PSV) has submitted in its own criminal complaint on behalf of the people in the case.

The Gürtel firms obtained some 70 contracts with the Valencia government, worth seven million euros.

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