JUDGE GARZÓN ON TRIAL

Garzón should be tried on bribery charges, lawyers argue

Pair who launched complaint appeal acquittal ruling

Madrid -

Antonio Panea and José Luis Mazón presented an amended complaint and an appeal to the top court following Justice Manuel Marchena’s acquittal ruling on Monday. In their briefs, the lawyers say that Marchena gives the impression that “he wanted Garzón’s head” but dropped the case after the judge was convicted for breaching his bench duties when he ordered phone taps of conversations between defendants in the Gürtel public corruption case and their lawyers.

Panea and Mazón have asked the Supreme Court for an oral hearing over the charges that Garzón received money from Banco Santander and other firms to organize a series of conferences at New York University while he was on leave from the High Court. The lawyers speculate that Garzón received the money after he had dropped a tax fraud investigation against Botín.

Marchena “invented” the statute of limitations expiration, the lawyers say, because there “exists no such provision” on passive bribery charges. Panea and Mazón have said that they wanted Garzón to be sentenced to five years in prison plus a 30-year suspension from the judiciary.

Last Thursday, Garzón was thrown off the bench for 11 years after he was convicted of violating the constitutional guarantees of the Gürtel defendants, who have been charged with organizing an alleged kickback-for-contracts scheme, by recording their jailhouse phone conversations. The judge, who is studying whether to appeal the conviction to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, says he was trying to stop the suspects from using their lawyers to help them launder and conceal stolen public money.

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