BUENOS AIRES, Sept 6 ― Defence lawyers in a corruption trial involving Vice President Cristina Kirchner that resumed yesterday said prosecutors had violated Argentina's constitution and its federal system.
Kirchner is among 13 people accused of fraud and corruption in a case involving bribes alleged to have been paid in her Patagonian political stronghold during her two terms as president (2007-15) and that of her late husband Nestor's in the four years before that.
Prosecutors have asked that Kirchner be jailed for 12 years and banned for life from politics if convicted, although as a senator she would initially benefit from parliamentary immunity if that were the case.
Kirchner, 69, is accused of fraudulently awarding public works contracts.
The lawyer for one of her co-accused, Hector Jesus Carro, argued that the same case had already been investigated and closed in Kirchner's fiefdom, Santa Cruz province.
In a federal system such as Argentina's, the current trial constitutes “interference in local government, in the provincial constitution, causing irreparable damage to the federal system,” argued attorney Mariano Fragueiro Frias.
Kirchner is not due to take the stand until the end of September, with five co-defendants appearing before her.
A verdict is not expected until the end of the year.
Kirchner has not spoken since surviving an apparent assassination attempt last Thursday when a gunman pointed a loaded weapon at her head and seemingly pulled the trigger, only for the firearm to fail to go off.
Even the vice president's usually busy Twitter account has not been updated since.
The prosecution has pointed to what it called systematic irregularities in more than 50 tenders over a 12-year period in which the state lost 5.2 billion pesos (RM166.2 million).
Center-left Peronist Kirchner denies any wrongdoing.
She is implicated in four separate proceedings for laundering and speculative damage to the state, amongst other charges.
She has accused investigators of waging a “legal war” against her that is orchestrated by the right-wing opposition. ― AFP