The evidence that could favor Juan Orlando Hernández

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Due to the confidentiality condition, as well as the large amount of information offered as classified evidence in the trial of former President Juan Orlando Hernández, not all documents may be used during the debate.

The classified evidence was delivered by the prosecution on January 4 to the Southern District Court of New York.

A copy of that evidence was also provided to the defense of the accused Juan Orlando Hernández, according to documents from the Southern Court of New York.

The hearing to review that evidence that was provided by United States security agencies is scheduled for Thursday.

Among these documents will be the support that Juan Orlando Hernández received from the Southern Command when he was president, the results of operations that ended with the extradition of Hondurans involved in drug trafficking to the United States.

Furthermore, with those same documents they could show the confidence that the United States authorities had with the decoration made by the Southern Command to the former security minister Julian Pacheco for the fight against drug trafficking.

This evidence will favor former President Juan Orlando Hernández in his defense during the trial that begins on February 20 and that is why they are clinging to it being in their favor at the time of the trial.

Criminal lawyer Marlon Duarte explained that the classified evidence includes information on relations between the United States and Honduras and probably operations, since they are supposedly interested in knowing about the participation of Juan Orlando Hernández.

He indicated that at the hearing what they will do is choose the evidence that is useful, which will be done behind closed doors, because much of the information could jeopardize the security of the United States.

He added that only the prosecution and defense are at the hearing, who also sign a confidentiality agreement.

“There are documents that cannot be used in the trial, and they are those that have to do with why confidentiality has been decreed for both countries, which endangers the population of the United States as well as that of Honduras,” he noted.

For the Honduran lawyer, documents that expose techniques, investigation methods, systems used to detect some type of organized crime cells cannot be aired in the trial or exposed in the debate.

Nor will evidence that has to do with third parties or in the case of a criminal suspect who has not been captured will be exposed.

“The documents related to former President Juan Orlando Hernández are classified for everyone except the judicial process,” said Duarte.

He added that it is complicated to determine and read each document that will be used in the trial and time is limited.

Some type of document that is of interest to the defense and the Prosecutor’s Office, and that has classified quality, will be incorporated into the debate, but only the document will be exhibited, but it will not be public to those who are in the trial or to the media. .

Once both parties make their final arguments, they will be able to refer to the classified information, demonstrating what they were able to prove with the document.

At the second State hearing scheduled for February 13, Judge Kevin Castel, the Prosecutor’s Office, the defense and probably Juan Orlando Hernández will be present.


Appointed as part of the defense was Sabrina Shroff, who has served as a contracted and licensed attorney for the defendant for more than a year (ECF 506) focusing on issues arising under the Classified Information Procedures Act (Cipa).

Judge Kevin Castel admitted to the defense the attorney, who in a letter expressed that she has become intimately familiar with the defense theory and the likely scope of the defendant’s proposed testimony.

On January 23, 2024, the Court determined that the defendant was eligible for appointment as counsel under the CJA and appointed Renato Stabile as additional counsel.

The court granted Shroff’s appointment as per the brief due to the nature, complexity and current status of the case.

After the two scheduled hearings, the trial will begin on February 20 at 9:30 am with the selection of the jury that will ultimately give its verdict.


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