The Federal Criminal Cassation Chamber rejected a new proposal by Gerardo Morales and ratified that the sentence to three and a half years in prison against Milagro Sala should be annulled for “aggravated damage and coercive threats” that an oral court imposed on him this year during the campaign electoral in Jujuy. It is the cause known as “los huevazos” because it originated in a protest in 2009 against the governor – then a senator – in which he was thrown eggs when he was giving a talk at the Professional Council of Economic Sciences. Although the leader of the Tupac Amaru had not participated, she was accused as the alleged instigator. The chambermaid Javier Carbajo and his colleagues Angela Ledesma and Liliana Catucci said that Morales did not demonstrate any arbitrariness or violation of equality before the law for a review and that, therefore, the Federal Oral Court of Jujuy must declare, as already they ordered the prescription at the beginning of August.
The cause of the huevazos is very emblematic of how the judicial machinery against Sala worked (and works), especially from the end of 2015, when in the context of the government of Mauricio Macri and Morales in the province, old files as if by magic and others joined in order to corner the leader and deprive her of freedom. This particular file began in 2009 but the oral trial was only held in 2016. On December 28 of that year, Milagro was sentenced to three years in prison as an instigator of aggravated harm, and as co-authors the court involved Graciela López and Ramón Salvatierra. Although Sala did not participate in the escrache, the decision was based on the account of a witness named René Arellano, known as “Cochinillo”, who was an employee of the Morales government, and who said that it had been organized in her house . The court considered that the crime of threats was prescribed.
In June 2017, room IV of the Cassation Chamber, at that time made up of Gustavo Hornos, Mariano Borinsky (denounced this year for their frequent visits to Macri in the Quinta de Olivos and the Rosada house) and Juan Carlos Gemignani, confirmed the conviction but aggravated the situation of the Chamber by saying that, in reality, the threats were coercive and had not prescribed and the oral court had to issue a new sentence that included that issue. Since then, the file slept in a courtroom until this year judges Mario Juárez Almaraz, Alejandra Cataldi and María Liliana Snopek – this last cousin of Morales’ wife, named in court shortly before sentencing for this occasion – They dusted off the file in the middle of Morales’ campaign and his public requests for conviction and jail for Sala, who is currently under house arrest. Their defense was presented to raise the statute of limitations, which is four years in this case, but the court rejected the claim. On June 17, he decided to impose a sentence of three and a half years.
In this endless Kafkaesque labyrinth, the leader returned to the Cassation Chamber and with another composition, Chamber IV signed a ruling stating that the Jujuy court, in essence, had invented non-existent reasons in the procedural rules to consider the prescription interrupted and thus to prosecute Milagro Sala. As stated by the Cassation prosecutor, Javier De Luca, the first sentence had been counted as an interruption of the statute of limitations. “In the case under study, it is clear that the issuance of the new conviction was not due to a genuine ‘impulse’ of the process but was issued to prevent the defendants from benefiting from the prescription of the criminal action,” said De Luca when he requested that the criminal action be considered extinguished based on the crimes attributed to the accused. Judge Ledesma in her vote added previous irregularities, such as the fact that Salvatierra was not allowed to designate her defender and imposed one on her. Regarding the statute of limitations, he said: “The last interrupting act of the statute of limitations is the sentence handed down on December 28, 2016, so that the 4-year period provided for the crime of aggravated damage has elapsed with respect to the appellant Milagro Sala, which should be extended to María Graciela López and Ramón Gustavo Salvatierra ”. Judges Carbajo and Catucci agreed, but said that the file should return to the oral court to issue a new ruling.
The latter is what Morales continues to try to obstruct, now without luck, because the Cassation once again rejected his proposal. They told him that there is no final sentence, nor did he demonstrate arbitrariness or the deprivation of any rights. Although the governor could go to the Court in complaint, the logic would be for the oral court to issue a new ruling as established by the Chamber of Cassation, which is its superior court. In the highest court, the supreme court still did not resolve the most serious case against Sala, known as “pibes villeros”, where she was sentenced to 13 years in prison.