The federal judge Aida Delgado Colon ordered to keep the sentence against the former mayor of Guaynabo, Angel Perez Otero, ongoing, by denying his request to paralyze the process to wait for a decision from the federal Supreme Court in another case.
In this way, Delgado Colon stressed that the sentencing hearing that is scheduled for next Monday, February 12, in the Federal Court of Hato Rey is still on.
In an order issued Thursday afternoon, Delgado Colon ruled that “the motion is denied. The sentencing hearing remains as it is on the calendar.”
Perez Otero was found guilty by a jury on March 22, 2023 for, allegedly, receiving bribes of $5,000, every four to six weeks, from Santamaria Torres, owner of construction, health insurance and garbage collection businesses, who pleaded guilty in an agreement with federal authorities.
The motion, signed by the lawyers Osvaldo Carlo, Eduardo Ferrer and Jose Olmosrequested that the sentence should be stopped to await the result of a controversy before the Supreme Court of the United States and that, supposedly, it is relevant to the case of Perez Otero.
They stated that, in that other case, a mayor in the state of Indiana had been accused of the same bribery statute, alleging that he received payments from a company contracted by the municipality, while the defense argued that they were not transactions for him to execute a official action, but rather they were “gratifications” that arose after the contract had been awarded.
In response, U.S. Attorney Nicholas Cannon He pointed out that the statute used in the case against Perez Otero did not penalize “gratifications,” following the precedent of the case against Juan Bravo and former senator Hector Martinez.
He also held that “the court was well aware of the mandate when it instructed the jury on the elements necessary to prove bribery.” He stated that the “paralysis request has no merit and should be denied.”
“Above all, there is simply no outcome in Snyder v. United States to provide some remedy to Perez Otero,” the prosecutor argued.
He recalled that, prior to the trial, the judge had ruled that “to be a bribe, it is not the payment that must precede the official act, but the agreement.”
He quoted Delgado Colon stating that “the fundamental difference between a bribe and a gratuity is not the moment in which the illegal payment is made, but the quid pro quo, or the agreement to exchange something of value for an official action.”
1 / 22 | The photos you hadn’t seen of Angel Perez with Oscar Santamaria. In one of the photo sequences, businessman Oscar Santamaria is seen getting out of his car, a blue Maserati, in front of a restaurant, the same place where the former mayor of Guaynabo Angel Perez is also seen getting out of his official car. – Capture / The New Day
In addition, the prosecutor recalled that Perez Otero will also be sentenced for the charge of extortion, which “carries a maximum sentence that is double” the statute that penalizes bribery and has nothing to do with the case before the Federal Supreme Court.
For her part, Judge Delgado Colon highlighted that the defense took two months to tell her that this case was before the highest judicial forum in the United States. She added, however, that even though she was “excusing” this “delay” on the part of the defense, she indicated that the accused’s position is “unsustainable.”
“The court has already denied Perez Otero’s gratification argument because it was not supported by the trial evidence. On the other hand, the court found ample evidence of a quid pro quo agreement,” said Delgado Colon.
“Perez Otero does not adequately explain, nor can the court see, how Snyder’s final outcome is likely to affect the outcome of his case, since he was found guilty of accepting bribes, not gratuities, and the evidence does not prove otherwise,” he claimed.