Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero has claimed that the media is guilty of criminal extortion after leaked recordings suggested that he has improperly intervened in a court case related to the 2015 death of his brother.
Recordings of conversations between Gertz and a colleague were leaked late last week and reported widely in the Mexican media.
Gertz and Juan Ramos López, head of the federal crimes unit of the federal Attorney General’s Office (FGR), speak about a case in which the wife of the the attorney general’s brother and her daughter are accused of “homicide by omission” for failing to provide adequate medical care to him before his death at the age of 82.
The Supreme Court (SCJN) will consider the case next week. The leaked recordings suggest that Gertz had an agreement with the SCJN that would ensure that the two women are not acquitted.
However, the attorney general and Ramos claimed that the court intended to break the agreement and free Alejandra Cuevas Morán, the 69-year-old daughter who has been imprisoned for over a year on homicide charges. Gertz apparently received an advanced copy of the proposed SCJN ruling, which Cuevas’ son described as a serious crime.
In a radio interview on Wednesday, Gertz confirmed that the recordings are authentic but denied any wrongdoing.
“We’re facing a true criminal media extortion, let me repeat it – criminal media extortion in order to lynch the attorney general,” he said.
“… [It’s claimed that] two officials are pressuring a [Supreme Court] justice and [I’m] using my position to gain an advantage … in a personal situation. This is absolutely false,” Gertz said.
He backed up that claim by asserting that his dealings with the SCJN are part of his personal defense of his brother, rejecting the suggestion he has acted in his official capacity as attorney general. Nothing has gone through the Attorney General’s Office because the case “doesn’t concern the FGR,” Gertz said. “It has nothing to do with [the FGR], it concerns Mexico City,” he said.
He claimed that people are trying to “bring me down emotionally” and discredit him in order to strip him of the moral authority he needs to do his job. Asked whether he knew who recorded his conversations with Ramos, Gertz said the FGR is investigating and he can’t comment further because he is the victim.
Opposition politicians have called on Gertz to resign, but the attorney general ruled out that possibility, while indicating that he is willing to appear before the Senate to explain his actions and remarks.
“It doesn’t cross my mind to quit the position,” he said. “… One has to leave the position [if there are] reasons that are sufficiently important, that’s what the constitution and the law say. [Resigning] has to be for some reason, but not because they’re extorting me,” he said.