The Franco’s judicial offensive against journalists and investigators of the fortune treasured by the dictator goes wrong again for the second time in a week. The family’s claims collide head-on with the constitutional rights of freedom of expression and information, as determined in her order of June 9 by Judge Belén Sánchez Hernández, head of the Court of Instruction number 39 of Madrid. Last day 2, it was Carmen Iglesias Pinuaga, head of First Instance number 43, who issued a sentence in favor of the defendants. In both cases, in both cases, the Martínez-Bordiú brothers were targeting Mediaset España, SA, and against all the journalists and researchers who participated in the report. Franco’s inheritance, aired on July 23, 2018 within the program In the spotlight.
It was the same matter, and after resolving the civil issue in a hearing held on May 26, the criminal court has not even waited for trial. The Franco lawyers argued in the complaint – which the investigating judge has decided to dismiss provisionally – that the content of the program was defamatory and that it was intended to discredit Franco’s heirs with false information and “reckless disregard for the truth.” Although there is still an appeal for reform or appeal within a period of no more than five days, the magistrate ditches in just six pages the lengthy accusation presented by the family’s lawyers, who shredded the program into more than a hundred pages, until its last detail, to try to prove the crimes of libel and libel.
The complaint was directed against Mediaset, in the person of its legal representative, and against the directors of the program, Juan Serrano and Lorena Correa. Also against the reporters Pablo de Miguel, Juan Carlos González and Carla Sanz; and those called to participate as experts in the heritage treasured by the dictator. These were the researcher Carlos Babío – co-author of the book Meirás, a pazo, a caudillo, a spolio and key witness in the trial that returned the Galician palace to the State – and the journalists Mariano Sánchez Soler – author of The Franco Family, SA and of The rich of Franco—, Javier Otero Badá, who brought to light the dictator’s bank documentation, and Jimmy Jiménez-Arnau (once married in the Meirás chapel with María del Mar Merry Martínez-Bordiú, Franco’s granddaughter). In the order to file the criminal dispute, however, nothing is specified about the payment of the procedural costs. In the judgment of acquittal of the civil lawsuit, the judge determined that each one assumed the payment of his defense, a decision that was criticized by some of those affected, since they consider that it gives rise to the Francs to continue suing whenever it is concerned about the figure of his grandfather and his fortune.
The judge concludes that “much of the content” of the program “focuses on the person of Francisco Franco and not on the now plaintiffs”
Judge Belén Sánchez concludes that “much of the content” of the program that is the subject of the complaint “focuses on the person of Francisco Franco and not on the current complainants.” “Reference is made in the complaint to the comments made regarding the way in which he made his fortune, during and after the Civil War; and as for the pazo de Meirás, the extortion of the neighbors, those who made them leave their homes ”, describes the magistrate. In the report, the filing order continues, it also speaks of “the coercion carried out by the dictator, using his power, to seize various properties in the national territory, such as the Cornide palace. [en la ciudad de A Coruña] and others”. “In most of the cases” that the television space deals with and “in most of the interventions made in the program”, the instructor maintains, “the comments do not refer to the now complainants, but to other people already deceased, so they cannot integrate the crimes ”of insults and slander against the Martínez-Bordiú Franco brothers.
On the other hand, the judge describes, “the complaint maintains that the program offers a negative and tendentious image” about the dictator’s heirs, “with the intention of seeking his personal discredit and censoring his patrimony.” The lawyers of the Franco family cite comments made such as that “the grandchildren have put the pazo up for sale, something that is not theirs”, or that “with the requalification of a farm they took many millions”. “Also”, the car continues, “it is indicated that they have large businesses in the manner of a holding company, who control the patrimony and have distributed a millionaire inheritance ”. Also, when talking about some “Francis Franco car parks”, it is stated that “it had to be evicted [de pisos] to families in Malaga ”, with“ excuses that they were going to make reforms ”. For the holder of Instruction number 39 of Madrid, all these expressions collected in the documentary “do not have the sufficient entity to be constitutive of the crimes of libel and slander”.
According to the order, there are also “insufficient indications that those investigated had the intention of undermining the dignity and honor” of the Martínez-Bordiú family.
And, according to their order, there is also “insufficient evidence that those investigated had the intention of undermining the dignity and honor” of the Martínez-Bordiú family. “The will to inform and, where appropriate, criticize a specific situation in relation to the origin of the heritage”, reminds the lawyers of the Franco the magistrate, are protected by “the right to freedom of expression and information, collected in the Spanish Constitution ”.
The judgment of the 43rd Court of First Instance of Madrid, still subject to appeal, rejected with the same argument that the broadcast of the program (the destruction of which the Francos claimed, in addition to financial compensation) violated their honor, image and privacy. Judge Iglesias Pinuaga accepted that the report was “partial and biased”, but maintained that it was protected by freedom of expression and information and acquitted the defendants. The program, broadcast by Cuatro and produced by C Quartz At the time when the political debate on the exhumation of Franco del Valle de los Caídos was making headlines, it reviewed the incorporation into the family’s patrimony of various real estate. They spoke of the Meirás towers (Sada, A Coruña), the Canto del Pico palace (Torrelodones), the Cornide house (A Coruña) or the Valdefuentes estate (Arroyomolinos).
“It is true that illicit conduct is imputed in the form of acquisition of certain properties,” the civil magistrate sentenced last day 2, “but said information refers to the ancestors of the plaintiffs, and they act in their own name , and not in defense of the honor of their deceased grandparents ”. In Cuatro’s program, the judge considered, “the plaintiffs are only blamed for a lack of ethics in the management of their assets.”
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