Local February 12, 2013 | 11:19 am

Notorious retired general sues journalists for alleged slander

Santo Domingo.- Unfair and unfounded were the terms the attorney Namphi Rodriguez used Tuesday to describe the slander suit filed by retired general Pedro Julio (Pepe) Goico against the journalists Guillermo Tejada and Hector Herrera Cabral, in late January.

The case is the latest involving Goico, one of the main figures in the 2003 collapse of the bank Baninter which cost Dominican taxpayers US$2.5 billion, and the RD$90.0 million Dominican Lottery embezzlement case.

The lawyer defends the journalists in the case of assertion by deputy Giovanni Tejada on Herrera’s TV program, that the head of former president Hipolito Mejia’s security detail provided a copy of the plea bargaining deal with money laundering convict Sobeida Felix, who accused PRD party president Miguel Vargas of receiving money from Puerto Rican kingpin Jose Figueroa Agosto for his presidential campaign.

In a press conference, Rodriguez called the lawsuit judicial harassment to intimidate and silence the two journalists.

"Goico’s accusation has no chance of success,” he said, citing provisions in the law on freedom of the press and of Human Rights]. “It’s absurd to claim that a topic in the public debate can’t be discussed in a TV program. Furthermore, it’s absurd to pretend to condition interviewees before the interview to state what the interviewer wants."

Rodriguez added that the lawsuit aims to silence and intimidate the media for political reasons, “and they resort to harassment and judicial activism,” practices he affirms hinder to freedom of expression.

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