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Venezuela Ex Spy Chief Carvajal  Request to Depose Blengio Is Denied So Dec 12 is Next

by Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Book Substack

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Nov 1 – Venezuela's former spy chief Hugo Armando Carvajal Barrios a/k/a El Pollo is in US custody in a narco-trafficking conspiracy case begun in 2011, after a long extradition fight in Spain.

    Carvajal was arraigned by U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Magistrate Judge Stuart D. Aaron on July 20. Inner City Press was there and live tweeted, thread: more on Substack here

Carvajal's lawyers have gone out into the hall with two of the three prosecutors. Bail deal seems doubtful. But they are talking...

Carvajal's legal team's statement emphasizes that he "broke publicly with the government of Nicolas Maduro and looks an unbiased American jury. A bail application will be forthcoming." So apparently going to consent to detention today

 Both Carvajal's counsel and the two prosecutors have come back into the courtroom.

 Carvajal is brought in by 2 US Marshals, in a white T-shirt. Has a lawyer sutting on each side of him. 

Assistant US Attorney says Carvajal arrived in the US yesterday at 1:15 pm. Judge Aaron reads out the charges. Defense: He pleads not guilty.

 AUSA: The government seeks detention. Defense: We consent without prejudice. Next hearing before Judge Hellerstein July 25 at 12:30 pm. Medical order signed.

Afterward Inner City Press asked Carvajal's lawyer about his client's letter in Spain about information he has, video here from 1:50.

Vlog in Spanish and English here

  On July 25 Carvajal appeared again, before Judge Hellerstein. His lawyer did not object to excluding Speedy Trial Act time to November 1 - he said he is applying under CIPA. (In the ongoing case of Honduras' Juan Orlando Hernandez, another CJA counsel was brought in just for the Classified Information Procedures Act issues). Nor was there any mention of applying for bail.

The line of the proceeding was when Judge Hellerstein asked if any of the co-defendants will also appear on November 1. The Assistant US Attorney said that with Cliver having pled guilty, no one of the other defendant - which include Nicolas Madura - are anticipated to be in New York on November 1. And after? Watch this site.

  El Pollo's case has the potential to spill the beans even more than Honduras' JOH's ongoing case, in which JOH's ties to El Chapo Guzman are alleged. 

  El Pollo told a Spanish judge that he has information about Venezuela - and drug money from Colombia's FARC - going to, among others, Brazil's President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva; Néstor Kirchner in Argentina; Evo Morales in Bolivia; Fernando Lugo in Paraguay; Ollanta Humala in Peru; Zelaya in Honduras; Gustavo Petro in Colombia; the Five Star Movement in Italy; and the Podemos party in Spain.

  The wrinkle is that, given El Pollo's flip to Guaido, the Nicolas Maduro government is asking for his re-extradition. And as with the current US administration's prosecution of Miles Guo Wengui Kwok, who the Chinese government also wants prosecuted or worse, will DOJ be eager to cut the cooperation deal it should or might?

On October 19, Pollo's counsel wrote in asking for permission to depose Fernando Blengio, recently released by BOP and removed to Mexico. He cannot reenter the US to testify at trial, so a Rule 15 deposition in Mexico was sought.

On November 1, Judge Hellerstein denied the request and set the next conference for December 12: "Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein: Oral Argument as to Hugo Armando Carvajal-Barrios held on 11/1/2023. Pretrial Conference as to Hugo Armando Carvajal-Barrios held on 11/1/2023. Motion to take deposition is denied; Next PTC is set for 12/12/23 at 10:00 a.m.; Deft. cont'd remanded."

 Inner City Press is on the case, which is US v. Carvajal Barrios, et al., 11-cr-205 (Hellerstein / Aaron)

More detail, and Spanish translation, on Substack here


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