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Argentina: Kirchner presents defense in corruption trial

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Argentina: Kirchner presents defense in corruption trial

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner corruption
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner will present her defense to corruption allegations – Photo: Presidency of the Nation of Argentina

Argentinian Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her defense team will begin presenting its case today at a high-profile corruption trial.

Kirchner is accused of participating in a scheme to award public works contracts to companies owned by a businessman and associate of her family. Kirchner maintains her innocence and claims the charges are politically motivated. Prosecutors have asked for a 12-year prison sentence, a $1 billion forfeiture and perpetual political disqualification.

The left-of-center former president’s defense comes following a botched assassination attempt on Thursday. Argentinian authorities have taken a Brazilian suspect into custody.

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Regardless of the verdict—more likely than not to be an acquittal, given dismissals and not guilty findings she has obtained in other related cases—public opinion on Kirchner and her family will remain divided. On the one hand, the political upheaval associated with the trial has distracted Congress from addressing the country’s immediate economic problems. On the other, Argentinians widely view the country’s media and justice system as corrupt and sympathize with Kirchner’s claims of unfair treatment. Even in the event of conviction, with the appeals process unlikely to be exhausted by next year’s general election, Kirchner will remain an active player in Argentinian politics for the foreseeable future.

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