The United States Department of Justice requested the federal court in San Juan an evidence protection order that will be delivered to the parties as part of the discovery of evidence in the case against the former governor Wanda Vazquez Garced and two other co-defendants.
In a motion filed yesterday before Judge Raúl Arias Marxuach, prosecutor Erica Waymack indicated that “Much of the material” that the Public Ministry “intends to produce” consists of “personally identifiable information or confidential information about witnesses.”
Likewise, it pointed out that this information from the witnesses consists of personal identifications, addresses, telephone numbers and private financial information.”
“In addition, the material contains confidential and sensitive information developed by (agents of) public order and the Grand Jury, including material related to cooperating witnesses with the Public Ministry investigation,” he added.
The motion cites court precedents that have established the criteria for establishing such protection against “unwarranted disclosure.”
The prosecution “only seeks to facilitate the discovery of evidence, while protecting against improper disclosure or use of certain sensitive information,” he added.
In the motion, the prosecutor stated that “given the scope of personally identifiable information and the risk of publicly exposing the identities of cooperating witnesses, and to facilitate discovery between the parties, a protection order will guarantee that the Public Ministry can meet its discovery obligations without breaching its duty to safeguard personal or otherwise sensitive information.”
“The need for a protection order is particularly pronounced in this case, given the greater media coverage,” Waymack added, citing an order from Judge Arias Marxuach himself, who imposed a gag order on the parties to the case to prevent them from being express information that has not been discussed publicly in motions or in hearings.
The proposed protective order for the evidence states that the parties may not share the material with anyone who is not on the case nor will more copies be made than are necessary to prepare for trial.
In the electronic file of the case, the prosecutor indicated that the motion was not opposed by the other parties.
Vázquez Garced was arrested on August 4 by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Co-defendant Mark Rossini, a financial adviser and former FBI agent, turned himself in several days later. The prosecution of co-defendant Julio Herrera Velutini, a Venezuelan-Italian banker residing in England, is still pending.
According to a Federal Grand Jury indictment, the three conspired for Vázquez Garced to receive contributions to his gubernatorial campaign in exchange for removing George Joyner from the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions (OCIF) in order to put an end to the audit that had detected suspicious transactions in Herrera Velutini’s bank accounts.
Read more here:
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– Venezuelan banker Julio Herrera Velutini asked for the head of the head of the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions
– The federal charges against Wanda Vázquez Garced deal a blow to the credibility of Puerto Rico