The Miami Venezuelan Maletagate trial part XIV: Various tidbits as trial wraps up

October 16, 2008

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The trial in Miami is winding up and
nothing major deserving a new article has really happened, but there have been
some loose ends that have to be mentioned for the record:

—Earlier, the Venezuelan
Prosecutor had ordered the assets of Maionica and Kauffmann seized, but had
curiously left defendant Franklin Duran out. None of them have been charged of
anything yet, but the Prosecutor made it look a little better ordering the
freeze of the assets of both Antonini and Duran.

According to an Argentinean newspaper, a customs agent that
was present when Guido Antonini went through customs with the US$ 800,000 in a
suitcase, has testified in Argentina
that other suitcases were allowed through without being checked.

—The judge in the
maletagate case said it will allow the defense to argue entrapment in the
case. Duran’s Attorney will argue that his client went to Miami
not as an agent of Venezuela
to help Guido Antonini, but to help him as a friend.

—Because of this
decision, the Prosecution has then
requested
that Carlos Kauffmann testify again before the trial ends. It was
believed that there would be no more witnesses, but the Prosecution wants to
present additional evidence to counteract the argument that Duran was acting
out of friendship.

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