Once again, U.S. judge refuses to release Genaro García Luna on bail

Once again, U.S. judge refuses to release Genaro García Luna on bail

Genaro García Luna's lawyer is desperately trying to get him out of prison amid the COVID-19 pandemic
Genaro García Luna is a former Mexican Security Minister appointed by then-President Felipe Calderón - Photo: File Photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 20/04/2020 15:10 Víctor Sancho / Corresponsal Mexico City Actualizada 16:04
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Genaro García Luna, the former Mexican Security Minister appointed by then-President Felipe Calderón, offered a USD $2 million bond in order to be released from a New York City prison, where he awaits his trial after being accused of receiving bribes from the Sinaloa Cartel. 

On March 25, García Luna proposed to be released on a USD $2 million bond, weeks after a judge refused to release him on a USD $1 million bond. 

Moreover, García Luna argues that after a COVID-19 case was confirmed inside the U.S. prison where he is being held, his health is at risk and that his release is necessary. 

In order to be released, García Luna said he would reside in Washington or New York

César de Castro, García Luna’s public defender, said the former Mexican official is at risk because he is 51 and has respiratory problems. The lawyer adds that the prison where García Luna is being held doesn’t have the necessary hygienic and sanitary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  

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According to the document sent to judge Brian Cogan, who led the trial Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, it’s impossible to implement physical distancing in prison and his client doesn’t have access to hand sanitizer or soap

The lawyer also submitted a letter signed by Dr. Enrique Herrera Ascencio. The letter explains the former Mexican official had respiratory problems on June 26, 2015, after being exposed to air conditioning

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On March 30, prosecutors said there is no reason to release García Luna since he does not suffer from a chronic illness, a condition that would increase the risk of dying of COVID-19. They added that he has access to hot water and soap and that he can isolate in his jail cell in order to avoid contracting coronavirus

On March 31, a judge refused to release Genaro García Luna on a USD $2 million bond proposed by his lawyer. 

On April 16, García Luna’s public defender contested the judge’s decision to deny his petition to release the former Mexican official from a New York prison.

Lawyer César de Castro sent a letter to the U.S. judge after two attempts to reléase García Luna on bail. In his letter to Judge Brian Cogan, the same judge who sentenced Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán to life in prison, the public defender argues that a USD $2 million bail should be enough release Mexico’s former Security Minister while he awaits his trial.

However, the letter was sent to judge Cogan without García Luna’s consent since De Castro hasn’t been able to stay in touch with his client.

Late on April 19, judge Brian Cogan refused to reléase the former Mexican official from a New York prison. Cogan argues there are several reasons to keep García Luna in prison while he awaits his trial and said there is a risk the former Security Minister could flee the U.S. if released on bail.

According to the judge, Genaro García might try to escape since he is facing life in prison and besides the reasons to flee, García Luna also has the financial resources to do so. 

Judge Cogan also rejected the idea to temporarily release García Luna amid the COVID-19 pandemic because he had some health issues five years ago, especially since there is no evidence he suffers from a chronic illness. Furthermore, the judge said the facility where García Luna is imprisoned has taken the necessary steps to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.


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