Federal Judge María Eugenia Capuchetti and Prosecutor Carlos Rívolo ordered the confiscation of a second mobile phone belonging to Carolina Gómez Mónaco, an advisor to Juntos por el Cambio (JxC) deputy Gerardo Milman, in the investigation into the assassination attempt against Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
In response to an order issued by Capuchetti and Rívolo, the details of which are confidential, officers of the Airport Security Police confiscated Gómez Monaco’s second phone last night, Télam confirmed.
The development came after Ivana Bohdziewicz, a former secretary of Milman, testified last week that she and her former colleague Gómez Mónaco had had the data on their phones erased during a meeting organized by Milman in an office owned by Patricia Bullrich.
Bohdziewicz voluntarily extended her testimony before the Comodoro Py federal courts last Friday. The former secretary had been expected to testify in court this week.
In fresh statements, Bohdziewicz claimed that an expert had wiped her phone in Bullrich’s offices, sparking questions about what information was on the device and accusations from Kirchner of a cover-up. A former leader of the right-wing party PRO within the JxC coalition, Bullrich is one of the opposition’s presidential frontrunners. Milman worked as her Chief of Campaign until December last year, when he left the role amid controversy over his alleged comments about the assassination bid.
Last August 30, Bohdziewicz and Gómez Mónaco were with Milman at a bar near Congress called Casablanca. There, he allegedly uttered the phrase “I’ll be on my way to the seaside when they kill her”, according to witness Jorge Abello, who is an advisor to a Frente de Todos (FdT) deputy.
Milman and his advisors deny that he made the comment.
Two days later, on September 1, Fernando Andrés Sabag Montiel attempted to shoot Kirchner at point-blank range outside her home in Recoleta. He was arrested shortly after with two accomplices. The trio are usually referred to as “the Cotton Candy Gang,” as they posed as street cotton candy sellers near Kirchner’s apartment, apparently to spy on her.
There have been calls to look into the financing of the Cotton Candy Gang and their possible connection to far-right groups. In March, federal judges recommended in March that Fernando Sabag Montiel, alongside his co-accused, Brenda Uliarte and Nicolás Carrizo, be sent to trial, but no trial has started yet.
As part of the investigation, the two women’s mobile phones were seized in December, when they testified in the case a second time. At that point, Bohdziewicz said she had erased the information from her device, while Gómez Mónaco stated that she had got a new phone.
In her Friday statement, Bohdziewicz said she felt her former colleague was “pressuring” her. WhatsApp messages provided to the court show she asked Bohdziewicz not to “betray” her, although the messages do not indicate what she is referring to. She also gave the judges pieces of information that were previously unknown.
Bohdziewicz said she and Gómez Monaco had gone to an office she believed to belong to Bullrich on November 10, where their mobile phones were wiped.
She declared that Gómez Mónaco had called her to go for a coffee that November day, worried that the rumors about them and Milman were spreading fast. “She told me that Milman had spoken to Patricia [Bullrich], and that she was going to send us to an expert to see the information on our mobile phones, because it was likely that our information would be leaked,” she said in her testimony.
She also revealed that Gómez Mónaco had handed over a new telephone to the justice system, and had kept her real phone to herself without handing it over.
“We went to Avenida de Mayo 953, Patricia Bullrich’s office, if I’m not mistaken,” she said. Bullrich leads an institution called the “Strategic Studies Institute” located at 953 Avenida de Mayo, matching Bohdziewicz’s statements. “We got there, only Milman and the expert were there.”
Bohdziewicz said that during that meeting “they decided that Carolina would buy a new mobile phone with the same line she had presented to the courts.” This is what prompted the judge and prosecutor’s order to confiscate Gómez Mónaco’s phone last night.
Friday’s declarations are the third time Bohdziewicz has testified. The previous time she testified, both she and former coworker Carolina Gómez Monaco handed in their phones. That was when the issue of the wiped phone came to public attention.
On Twitter, Kirchner described the events as a cover-up. Bullrich responded by accusing the government of fabricating accusations.