Former President Rafael Correa went on trial before Ecuador’s highest court starting Monday on charges of campaign finance fraud and accepting millions of dollars in bribes.
Correa, 56, president for a decade through 2017, and 20 other defendants including former Vice President Jorge Glas, presidential legal adviser Alexis Mera and former Public Works Minister María de los Ángeles Duarte go before the National Court in a trial that’s expected to last several weeks. Any appeals of the verdict could extend to late 2020.
The former president, who will be tried in absentia as he’s currently living in Belgium with his wife, insists the trial is a witch hunt meant to end his career in politics ahead of next year’s elections. Barred from running for the top office due to term limits, Correa could still run for office as a legislator in the February 2021 nationwide vote, which would give him immunity from prosecution, if the campaign starts before the trial ends.
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