Lawyers for La Libertad Avanza’s (LLA) Javier Milei filed a motion on Thursday to dismiss President Alberto Fernández’s legal complaint against the presidential candidate, claiming that no crime had been committed.
Fernández filed charges against Milei and other LLA candidates on Wednesday for “public intimidation” following their remarks against the value of the Argentine peso, claiming they instilled fear and led to a run on the currency.
According to Télam, lawyers Francisco Oneto and Diego Spagnuolo presented a 13-page brief to federal judge María Servini claiming Milei’s statements were made within the framework of the “most basic freedom of expression” and “without any political or electoral intention.”
“To put it more simply — even if we assume the worst, our client said these things with the intention of winning the elections, not to instill fear or provoke riots,” they said.
In an interview on Radio Mitre on Monday morning, the libertarian economist talked about his dollarization proposal — which consultants have previously told the Herald is exerting further pressure on the local currency — and advised those who have made fixed deposits in pesos not to renew them. Milei qualified the peso as “worth less than excrement” with the informal exchange rate known as “blue dollar” rising steeply in response.
“As a direct and inexorable consequence of that set of public declarations and the ensuing fear, the value of [the dollar] rose shockingly and in less than a day [went] from [AR$870] to [AR$ 1,010],” said President Fernández’s legal complaint. “This financial activity induced by premeditated and tendentious activities of these people I am indicting, have caused incalculable harm to the country not just in economic terms but principally in terms of public confidence.”
The president cited Article 211 of the country’s Penal Code as the basis for his legal complaint, which establishes prison sentences of between two to six years for those who “instill a public fear […] raises alarm […] or uses other material means normally suitable for producing such effects.”
However, Milei’s lawyers contend that no action should be taken.
“Even if it were considered that our client uttered statements likely to provoke the public uproar he is being accused of, they were not made with the intention of provoking public fear, but, in the worst case, to improve his electoral result,” Milei’s lawyers said.
According to Télam, the lawyers presented two other briefs in federal courts calling for two other complaints against Milei to be dismissed. One was filed by Juntos por el Cambio (JxC) presidential candidate Patricia Bullrich because he accused her of “bombing kindergartens” in one of the presidential debates. The other was filed by a lawyer, Valeria Carreras, also for the candidate’s statements related to the Argentine peso.
Meanwhile, LLA released a communiqué announcing it had filed its own legal complaints against the ruling coalition Unión por la Patria (UxP) on Thursday for allegedly spreading false information. Milei’s political space released a communiqué accusing a specific website called “Lo Que Dice Milei” of being a fake news outlet and “UxP propaganda.”
“Not only can you find videos that are maliciously edited and old, but there are also negative connotations and false comments about the actual libertarian space’s actual proposals,” said Santiago Viola in the press release, which also mentioned that LLA notified Google of “illegal behavior” and calling for YouTube channels @MileiNo and @ConmisderechosNO to be taken down.
The communiqué did not specify where the legal complaint was filed. LLA press did not respond immediately to requests for comment.
—with information from Télam