Federal Judge María Eugenia Capuchetti on Monday ordered that three individuals should stand trial for the failed assassination attempt against Vice-President Cristiana Fernández de Kirchner on September 1 last year.
The elevation to trial stage, which implies the closure of the investigation stage, had been requested on May 30 by Federal Prosecutor Carlos Rívolo.
The magistrate did so despite opposition from the vice-president's lawyers, José Ubeira and Marcos Aldazábal. They argue that the crime has not been fully investigated and that others who were behind the failing shooting attack remain at large.
"To bring the case to trial in sections is an incorrect practice and damages the discovery of the truth," Ubeira warned last month.
Capuchetti did leave the possibility of probing additional lines of investigation open, declaring the investigation "partially closed." Nevertheless, she rejected arguments from the vice-president's legal team that the investigation is incomplete and that several lines of enquiry that could lead to other potential defendants have not been properly explored.
Last month, Rívolo requested that Fernando Sabag Montiel, 35, and his girlfriend Brenda Uliarte, 23, should stand trial as the co-authors of the attempt to assassinate Argentina’s former president outside her flat in Recoleta, Buenos Aires City.
Rívolo further insisted that 27-year-old Nicolás Carrizo, the alleged chief of the so-called ‘copitos’ group (or “candy floss gang,”) and the couple’s former employer, stand trial as a secondary or “necessary” participant in the attack.
The case was classified by the prosecutor as "double homicide aggravated by premeditated intent and by the premeditated concurrence of two or more persons, aggravated by the use of a firearm, in the degree of attempt.”
According to the judge, "beyond the undoubted political commotion generated by the attempted assassination of a vice-president of the nation, a fact of enormous institutional gravity," from all the phones seized and analysed "no link emerged" between the accused "with any group or person that at this stage would even allow suspicions about the possibility that they had been provided with assistance for the event.”
Fernández de Kirchner is opposed to any move to limit further investigation and has called on the judicial authorities to identify the alleged masterminds and financiers of the attack. The vice-president has asked for more evidence to be collected and believes the attack is linked to sectors of the opposition, including Juntos por el Cambio national deputy Gerardo Milman.
An advisor of the Frente de Todos parliamentary caucus has testified that 48 hours before the attack, Milman had met up with two female aides in a café near Congress, telling them that he would be on the Atlantic coast “when they kill” the vice-president.
Milman, who has not been indicted, denies the allegation. His secretaries have been investigated to ascertain the veracity of statements from them declaring that the words attributed to the lawmaker are false.