In a new attack on press freedom, federal judge Luis Rodríguez processed this Monday and seized in 850 thousand pesos the journalist of Clarín Daniel Santoro in the case in which the attempted extortion of Marcelo D’Alessio to the customs agent Gabriel Traficante is being investigated.
In a resolution, Rodríguez – linked to the Peronist judicial operator Javier Fernández – considered that Santoro was “Necessary participant” of the maneuver even though there is no proof that the journalist acted with fraud or received a financial benefit from the false lawyer.
Santoro’s attorneys, Mauricio De Nuñez and Guido Sciarreta, are already working on the appeal of the ruling for “arbitrary”, “unfounded” and for constituting another attack on freedom of expression. The cause began in 2017 and Rodríguez only imputed Santoro in 2020, within the framework of Operative Puf against the cause of bribery notebooks.
D’Alessio is accused of having committed an extortion attempt against Trafficker at the end of 2016 whose partners are on trial and on trial for an attempted smuggling in the Container Mafia case. The same Trafficker is prohibited from leaving the country and an investigation by the Financial Information Unit (UIF) for alleged money laundering.
In line with the suspicions of that court case, the former head of the Customs Gómez Centurión declared in the D’Alessio Dolores case: “After the Paolantonio case or the Customs mafia, when Trafficker appears, there I begin to understand … a complaint, parts are missing, links are missing and accelerators and places where things happen are missing, and Trafficker was one ”.
Santoro met D’Alessio only on November 24, 2016 when the false lawyer had already used his name and that of other journalists to pressure the businessman. Two days later, Santoro wrote a WhatsApp message to Trafficker, in all respects totally respectful, in which he asked him to call him to consult it about the note I was going to post. Trafficker did not reply.
The next day he published a note in which he reported that the economic criminal judge Marcelo Aguinsky was investigating whether Traficante was the head of the group that intervened in the Container Mafia. Trafficker did not end up prosecuted in that case, but his partners did.
Among his arguments, the magistrate objected to Santoro’s prior consultation with Traficante before publication.
Santoro limited himself to doing his job as a journalist, which is what he has been doing for 40 years.
The journalist did not have to know that the false lawyer used his name to extort money and there is not a single piece of evidence that contradicts his statements in inquiry
In his February 2020 inquiries, Santoro expressed “I contacted Trafficker whom I treat as ‘you’; I introduce myself with my first and last name, profession and Clarín employee; I let him know that I want to ask him a journalistic query ”. In addition to “already having my cell phone, I gave him my direct phone number for the newspaper. That is not the conduct of an accessory to an extortion attempt “added.
The judge pointed out that “in the Santoro message he would have limited to tell Trafficker that he would like to make a journalistic inquiry, which is far from the seriousness of what would actually happen (place him as head of the commission of extremely serious events) and seems to be more of a practice to cover up their unfair professional performance”.
Rodríguez stated that he let Santoro know “that his activity to publicly discredit Trafficker and create a non-existent degree of participation in the investigation carried out before the economic criminal jurisdiction, it was decisive so that D´Alessio exerted deception and illicit pressure that would affect Gabriel Traficante ”.
The journalist clarified to the judge that he did not know about the attempted extortion of D’Alessio and told the magistrate at your disposal your bank accounts and assets, a house and a car so that you can determine if you had made any profit. And he said that “his was a professional error of not having investigated D’Alessio.”
Santoro indicated that in the audios of this case it expressly appears that it was said “Santoro does not charge, it is not bribery” and that at that time “he had had a health problem, and his mistake was to let D’Alessio enter his personal environment and receive him at his home.”
He pointed out that D’Alessio’s secretary, Julieta Ciarmello, when deposing in Dolores’s file in response to a specific question, responded never have given money envelopes to Santoro but to others named.
Then the judge pointed out that Trafficker was effectively “mentioned in case No. 529/2016 of the National Economic Criminal Court No. 6 in charge of Dr. Marcelo Aguinsky “, even before he met D’Alessio”. He had been named by two of the defendants.
However, Judge Rodríguez said that “I consider that the conduct displayed by the accused Daniel Pedro Santoro fits prima facie into the crime of attempted extortion, as a necessary participant (articles 42, 45 and 168 of the Penal Code)”.
“Certainly, the journalist who publishes information of public interest obtained illegally by its source, with the assumption of a professional who transmits false information to contribute to a criminal maneuver, is certainly not acceptable,” he added.
Rodríguez is the same judge to whom Carolina Pochetti, the widow of Cristina Kirchner’s former secretary, Daniel Muñoz, affirmed that she had been paid several million dollars so that she did not advance with the case. The judge was investigated for this complaint and dismissed.
Last December, the federal chamber of Mar del Plata ruled Santoro’s lack of merit in an attempt to coerce – which did not constitute a crime – and an attempt to extort businessman K, Mario Cifuentes, in a clear ruling in favor of freedom of expression.
Regarding that ruling, Judge Rodriguez, held that “No constitutional detriment can be suffered by anyone who publishes false information for illegal purposes.”
He cited that the Federal Chamber of Mar del Plata clarified that “the Magistrates acting in judicial cases have not been invested in their positions to judge the quality or content of a journalistic work, far from it, to apostrophize about the way in which a journalist is linked to its source, these issues, which in everything, may be subject to an ethical or credibility judgment of their work, which is incumbent on the society that consumes their journalistic product, and not on the judges, always, of course, that you are not facing the commission of a crime ”.
Santoro published based on judicial and Customs sources, not only what was in the file, that it was being investigated whether Traficante was the head of the group. The judge said that “it’s false that two defendants “in the case of the container mafia investigated by Aguinsky pointed to Trafficker as an alleged ‘mastermind’ behind the organization.” The journalist did not claim that.
Based on an analysis of telephone calls, the judge affirmed, “Santoro has received numerous telephone communications with Dr. Marcelo Aguinsky, the judge in charge of the case in question. Promptly, calls were registered on November 25 and December 7, 2016, that is, one and two days in advance with the questioned notes to Santoro of November 26 and December 9, 2016 ”.
Until now, neither the journalist nor his lawyers knew that Santoro’s calls had been analyzed, protected by article 43 of the Constitution, which establishes professional secrecy. In the evidence provided by Trafficker there are alleged WhatsApp messages from D’Alessio, in which he affirms that “Santoro is no bribery.” However, the judge encourages this hypothesis.
The only thing he has is a photo of Santoro and D’Alessio together that the fake lawyer He asked it for his son who wanted to study journalism.
Regarding the prohibition of the Trafficker’s departure from the country, Judge Rodríguez said that “it was adopted more than nine (9) months after the events that are being studied here, but that said imposition is linked to a subsequent event that is exclusively processed in that File, whose processing is in charge of the Public Prosecutor’s Office in the terms of article 196 of the CPPN and is linked to the attempt to remove a container on September 14, 2017 ”.
In the case of the Containers mafia, Judge Aguinsky prosecuted Traficante’s partner, Gabriel Garcés, and the accountant Víctor Esteban Palomino Zitta, another of the defendants, is a fugitive from Justice.
#Judge #Luis #Rodríguez #prosecuted #seized #Clarín #journalist #Daniel #Santoro