Judge advances Alex Saab hearing in US money laundering case

USA VENEZUELA

Miami, Nov 24 (EFE) .- A federal judge from the United States advanced for next December 6 a hearing of Colombian-Venezuelan Alex Saab, alleged front man of the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, accused of money laundering in a Miami court.

Judge Robert N. Scola Jr. approved a motion requested by Saab’s defense to advance from December 28 to 6 of that month the “status” hearing, which is prior to the trial scheduled for January 3, 2022, according to court documents.

Scola, who will preside over the trial, said in his ruling that he requires the defendant to be present for that hearing.

The January trial will last two weeks and will be conducted by a jury, which will be selected in advance.

Saab, 49, faces a charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering in a Miami court, of which he pleaded “not guilty” on November 15 before Judge Alicia M. Otazo-Reyes.

Judge Scola earlier this month dismissed seven money laundering charges against the defendant, who was extradited from Cape Verde on October 16.

The reduction of charges was part of the extradition agreement with the Government of Cape Verde so that, in case he is found guilty, the sentence does not exceed the one he would have had in that African country.

Saab faces a sentence of about 20 years if he is found guilty of the only charge he has in the Miami court, a penalty that can be reduced if he makes a deal with the Prosecutor’s Office, which usually includes accusation of other accomplices.

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