On paper, the judge of guarantees of Avellaneda Luis Carzoglio He is facing a political trial for his way of processing amparo, for a habeas corpus in favor of prisoners in police stations, for two raids and complaints of mistreatment of employees. But in fact he is facing this impeachment process because –underlines his defense– in October 2018 refused to arrest Hugo and Pablo Moyano versus an explicit request from two former members of the Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI), that they even sent him a draft with the arrest warrant. By speaking publicly about what happened, he became the first magistrate who clearly revealed how the espionage apparatus and assembly of causes worked during the government of Mauricio Macri. Shortly after that episode, the Buenos Aires attorney, Julio Conte Grand, revived old complaints against him, some dating back to 2009, and in a month Carzoglio ended up suspended. After four years the impeachment process began last week and will have jury verdict this thursday.
Last Monday, already in the final stretch of his prosecution, Carzoglio received a letter from Pope Francis in response to an e-mail from him where he told him about the situation he is going through. “Dr. Luis, dear brother, thank you for writing to me.. I pray for you and your wife, please do it for me. Keep going working for the good. Fraternally Francis,” the manuscript read. “Let’s hope that the jury that judges me understands the Pope’s message,” said the judge on the bench. “I am calm because we said and gave everything with my lawyer, we showed all the evidence. On Thursday a story in the life of Luis Carzoglio ends, but another begins: I will be working anywhere, in Justice, in the profession, in the street, but always to build”, he told Page 12.
Carzoglio accumulated complaints before the secretariat of the trial jury of the province of Buenos Aires for more than 13 years, shortly after taking office in 2008, and up to ten years later. Those files were not moving, but they were latent. The prescription is established at five years for misdemeanors and for crimes, the period is equal to the maximum of the sentence provided. In both cases there are reasons why the limitation period is interrupted and can be extended.
In 2018, the Avellaneda court processed one of the cases for alleged illegal association in Independent, when it was managed by the Moyanos. Prosecutor Sebastián Scalera requested the arrest of Pablo Moyano for alleged money laundering at the club. In connection with this file, they appeared in the office of him who was head of Legal Affairs of the AFI, Juan Sebastian De Stefanoand who was in charge of the Finances of the intelligence agency, Fernando DiPasquale. The message was very clear: “The President is obsessed with Pablo Moyano. He awaits his arrest”they warned him. What do you want? They told him that they would send him a draft of the arrest warrant for both Hugo and Pablo Moyano, and that’s what happened. The paper even included instructions for raids. He put it in the safe at the courthouse.
On October 16 of that year, while some of the media considered the arrests of the trade unionists imminent in the middle of a campaign, Carzoglio rejected the prosecutor’s request. Some time later he would reveal the details of the visit he had received. On October 30, the head of the Buenos Aires prosecutors, Conte Grand –former legal and technical secretary of the government of María Eugenia Vidal– presented a brief to activate the complaints against the judge. On December 5, the jury, with the votes of Cambiemos and the registration lawyers, initially suspended him for 90 days, which turned into four years.
One of the pieces of evidence presented by the judge’s representative, lawyer Diego Raidan, is the statement of the former director of AFI, Gustavo Arribas, and her number two, Silvia Majdalani, before the Bicameral Intelligence Commission, where they recognized the visit of De Stéfano and De Pasquale to the guarantee judge. The argument was, in the context of social boiling and the threat of labor flexibility, among other things, that they wanted to know what Carzoglio would resolve about the Moyanos to be prepared in case there was an outbreak in the event of that. It was an astonishing statement: it is obvious that no official can ask a judge how he is going to decide, nor can he advance it..
The emissary De Stéfano is being prosecuted in the case where the so-called “anti-union Gestapo” is being investigated, which began with a video found in the AFI by the former inspector Cristina Caamaño where a meeting could be seen and heard at the Buenos Aires headquarters of Banco Provincia with the presence of of ex-functionaries of the government of María Eugenia Vidal, businessmen and ex-agents of the AFI, where they talked about how to mount a case against another trade unionist, in this case from the UOCRA, Juan Pablo Pata Medina, who months later was effectively arrested. The file that was in charge of the judge of La Plata Ernesto Kreplak was catapulted to Comodoro Py by the work of macrismo and the docility of the Buenos Aires judges, like the other cases on espionage of the same period, among them another that touched De Stéfano for make illegal intelligence on officials, political and social leaders, prisoners in the Ezeiza prison, among others. In the case of the “Gestapo”, the investigation was cut short just as it escalated to the political authorities and also, coincidentally, splashed the prosecutor Conte Grand.
The promotion and filing of cases against trade unionists, as well as the persecution of judges who did not respond directly to their mandates, were two characteristics of the Macri government that became more visible over the years, although the transfer of investigations to the Retiro courts blocked the progress of criminal responsibilities
With the impulse of Conte Grand –one of his accusers in the impeachment trial– to dust off old arguments and add others, Carzoglio is being held accountable for processing amparo (especially for health) presented in his court, issuing precautionary measures and then sending them to lottery; the raid on the Avellaneda Bar Association was questioned for the possible destruction of files at election time at the request of prosecutor Mario Prieto; also the search warrant without a certain date (so that the prosecutor could resolve it) in the investigation against Elbio Fernández, a car wrecker known as El Rey del Corte; another complaint is for making room for habeas corpus of prisoners in the Avellaneda fifth police station where they were overcrowded (despite the fact that as a result of the Supreme Court ruling known as “Verbitsky” arrests are prohibited in those establishments) and granting house arrest to some arrested; four employees alleged mistreatment.
Throughout the hearings that took place since last week, they paraded near 60 witnesses. One aspect that was evident is that many of Carzoglio’s disputed decisions were reviewed by other courts. and in some cases reversed, that is to say that the mechanisms of the judicial system worked. As for the employees, there were more who declared in their favor than against. Even those who denounced him never left the court, at least until the magistrate was suspended.
The jury is chaired by Hilda Kogan, the Buenos Aires supreme judge, and is made up of Juntos deputies, Ismael Passaglia and Walter Carusso; the deputies of the Frente de Todos, Débora Galán and Maite Alvado; and Radical Senator Erica Revilla, as well as co-judges Juan Emilio Spinelli, Jorge Pablo Martínez, Pedro Jorge Arbini Trujillo, Graciela Amione and Pablo Esteban Perrino. Carzoglio told this newspaper: “I assume mistakes but there is no reason for a dismissal”.