Thursday, April 10, 2008

Witness say he was paid in Venezuela

Isaias Rodriguez is behind this case, he knew about the payment to Vasquez. He is guilty, and he has been using on his favor, the Venezuela Justice System.
vdebate reporter
The Boston Globe 10/04/2008

Witness says he was paid in Venezuela
By Ian James
Associated Press Writer / April 9, 2008
CARACAS, Venezuela—A man once considered the star witness in the case of an assassinated prosecutor has recanted testimony that helped convict three men and implicated opponents of President Hugo Chavez.
Giovanny Vasquez said in an interview televised Wednesday that he believes the former attorney general, Isaias Rodriguez, was fooled by prosecutors working under him. Vasquez's lawyer, Morly Uzcategui, said Tuesday night that his client knows nothing about the case but testified against suspects after receiving $500,000 from a government official.
In Vasquez's interview, which was taped Tuesday and shown on the opposition-leaning channel Globovision, he said the former attorney general was apparently unaware. "I have good faith he didn't have anything to do with it," Vasquez was quoted as saying on Globovision's Web site.
Chavez responded Wednesday night, calling the allegations an attack on legal authorities "by the same ones who ordered the brave prosecutor Danilo Anderson killed."
"They attack the institutions," Chavez said, "taking up the investigation into the terrible murder again in a perverse way."
Rodriguez once called Vasquez his key witness in the 2004 murder. Anderson, who was killed in a car bombing, had been investigating the roles of government opponents in a failed 2002 coup against Chavez.
The former attorney general -- now an alternate judge for the Supreme Court -- said the case is being manipulated as part of a U.S.-backed media campaign against Chavez. According to the state-run Bolivarian News Agency, Rodriguez said he expects disinformation about the case will be part of a "script" with political aims.
Based in part on Vasquez's testimony, a judge convicted three former police officers in 2005 and sent them to prison. The men denied involvement.
Vasquez's testimony also was originally cited in cases against other suspects, including banker Nelson Mezerhane, retired Gen. Eugenio Anez Nunez, ex-police officer Fernando Jesus Moreno Palmar, Cuban-born Salvador Romani and journalist Patricia Poleo, a prominent Chavez critic.
In late 2006, authorities froze criminal proceedings against most of those suspects, citing a lack of evidence.
Vasquez presented his new testimony to prosecutors Tuesday. Uzcategui, his lawyer, was quoted by the newspaper El Universal as saying his client "provided evidence showing the (first) investigation... was a montage."
The Colombian-born witness went along with it "due to money issues and later due to pressures against him, his relatives and his life," Uzcategui said, according to El Universal. "They delivered $500,000 in cash to Vasquez for having lent his help for this."
The source of the alleged payment was unclear, though the lawyer said it came from a Justice Ministry official.
Vasquez said he has received threats, and his face was blurred to prevent easy identification in the interview, which Globovision said was taped by Somos, a smaller regional station.
In an earlier interview taped in 2006 and released this week, Vasquez mentioned the $500,000 payment, saying he later handed over $200,000 under an agreement with a prosecutor who was taken off the case.
He also said he was once flown to the Venezuela's La Orchila island by the military intelligence agency. His lawyer said Vasquez was there a month "to prepare him" for testifying.
Uzcategui said the 2006 interview was among evidence presented to prosecutors. It is unclear why it was not made public previously.
Associated Press writers Jorge Rueda and Christopher Toothaker contributed to this report

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