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Saturday, August 13, 2022

From “political persecution” to isolation: This is how Laura Borràs fell

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The President of the Parliament, Laura Borràs, met during the session of the Parliamentary Committee this Thursday.Marta Perez (EFE)

When considering a victim’s or witness’ testimony, judges place great importance on their story being consistent over time, as this is a sign of credibility. The same is not required of the defendants as they are supported by the presumption of innocence, although some keep their version of events intact. Like Laura Borràs, who has one virtue that cannot be denied: the tenacity to deny everything. Since the case against her was born four years ago because of her management at the top of the Institució de les Lletres Catalanes (ILC), she has repeated the same arguments that ultimately boil down to two: that she did nothing wrong and that she is because of his Status as independence leader Victim of “political persecution” by the state.

The former Speaker of Parliament has not abandoned this starting point, even if the progress of the investigation has brought her colors to light or the construction of her defense is based on false premises. For example, that a Barcelona judge “related to Ciudadanos” opened “a prospective investigation” against her, when in fact her name appeared spontaneously in a wiretapped telephone call with Isaías H., a former Borràs employee – Beneficiary of finger prices under suspicion – who was investigated for drug trafficking. Or that the judge separated the Mossos because they did not see a crime in the ILC, although the truth is that the decision was made because of a leak and that the Civil Guard was limited to continuing the line of investigation already consolidated by the Catalan police .

Her immobility leaves her more and more alone, especially since the legal consequences of the 1-O referendum have lessened in intensity. Borràs has tried to portray his case as another chapter in Operation Catalonia, the Interior Ministry’s initiative to illegally undermine the independence movement. “There is a consensus that this is a political persecution,” said the junts leader. But it’s a half truth. Only her party and her most loyal supporters (there are quite a few) supported her to the end. A few weeks ago, the President of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, refused to support the line of sacrifice, declaring that the matter had nothing to do with that process and that the crimes for which he will be benched “are what they are.”

His Numantine resistance has always shown itself to public opinion, never to the judges: Borràs exercised his right not to testify before the Supreme Court (when he was a member of Congress), nor did he want to do so before the Supreme Court of the judiciary of Catalonia, which involuntarily caused its suspension as a member of Parliament by opening a hearing, which was possible thanks to the independence votes of Esquerra and the CUP. He has tried to avoid his downfall until the last minute by asking that Rule 25.4 of the House Rules not be applied to him – which compels MPs who go to the bench on corruption grounds to be temporarily removed – with messages written between Seduction and seduction oscillate The threat: “I hope, I wish and I want to believe that the members of the board act as democratic MPs and respect fundamental rights, not as judges or inquisitors.”

Embarrassed silence before the emails

Borràs has defended her innocence, as she herself put it, “through and through” in interviews with journalists, but in which she has revealed her uneasiness. She responded to the legal case with a forced smile, which turned into a gesture of displeasure when the main evidence of the case came to light: the emails she had exchanged with Isaías H. from 2013, when she was in charge of the ILC was transferred, a body of the Generalitat that promotes literature in Catalan.

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The emails that Borràs tried to question by claiming without any evidence that they were “manipulated” are very clear. They show that he instructed the computer scientist to present fictitious budgets so that the approval of other candidates would appear. Maybe he never wanted to comment on them because of the power of those emails. When the subject is brought up, he becomes outraged and presents himself as a victim. So also in an interview with EL PAÍS before the regional elections in February 2021, in which she was the Junts candidate: “I didn’t know that I had to defend myself in an interview.” The same in program frequently asked Questions from TV3 a few days ago: “I figured I was coming in for an interview, not an interrogation or a pretrial,” he told the interviewer.

An incident that occurred after the TV3 broadcast underscored Borràs’ uneasiness and reinforced his growing loneliness in the autonomous chamber. Francesc de Dalmases, an MP and a man he trusts, is said to have grabbed his wrist, locked himself in an office and insulted the journalist who had organized the interview. The President of Parliament was present at the incident analyzed by regional television and, according to various witnesses, never intervened to stop De Dalmases.

Aware of his political isolation, Borràs has played the popularity card. These days he has retweeted all the messages of support he received on Twitter. This Thursday, minutes before the vote at the table, hundreds of people gathered in front of Parliament to protest their innocence: “Laura Borràs is not alone. It’s not justice, it’s revenge.” Borràs has seen the streets as her great asset to stay alive in politics but also in the face of justice: she believes to such an extent that people support her and acquit her that her attorney, Gonzalo Boye, demanded, will be tried by a people’s jury, which was dismissed in one fell swoop because the crime of excuse is specifically exempt from jury duty.

Prosecutors are asking for six years in prison and 21 years of disqualification for the former president for dividing a commission into small contracts on the institution’s website. In this way he was able to award Isaías H. with a finger (he calculated more than 300,000 euros in total). He attributes the crimes to subterfuge and false documentation, but not two other crimes covered during the investigation: embezzlement and fraud. The work was carried out and nobody (not even them) took a euro from the institution. Without prejudice to the Treasury, Borràs has insisted that there must be no corruption and that Article 25.4 does not apply. To the end, he resisted stepping down from office and appealed to his colleagues in the presidency: “We can send the message that the sewers don’t rule in Parliament.” She failed to convince them and attacked them in isolation and irritation, calling them “five MPs disguised as hypocritical judges”.

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