a mechanism so that it can defend itself and that was known from day one

April 24, The confidential reported that a judge had opened an investigation against the wife of the president of the government, Begoña Gómez. Shortly afterwards, the press service of the Madrid courts confirmed this information in an email. That afternoon, Pedro Sánchez published the letter announcing this five days of reflection to see if he would continue to lead the executive branch, mentioning that investigation in the letter he sent to citizens and already stating that his wife would defend his “decency” and “cooperate with the Justice Department” .

This Tuesday, the secrecy of the summary of that case was lifted, the most important document of which is a report from the Guardia Civil that analyzes the facts in 160 pages and exclude any evidence of crime in the president's wife. However, several media outlets ignored that report and hastened to say that Sánchez knew his wife was under “investigative status” in that case before publishing the letter. They refer to a letter dated April 24 in which Begoña Gómez's lawyer requests to be part of the procedure in which his client “has the status of investigation”.

These media yesterday published information showing that the President of the Government had concealed the fact that his wife was under investigation and that, without making that information public, he had written the letter that day. The PP also accused Sánchez of concealing his wife's “status under investigation.”

The truth is that the opening of the investigation against Gómez was public early in the morning, that the “under investigation status” is only a mechanism to guarantee his right to defense and that the president's wife was never called to be an investigated witnesses, what the media usually calls an indictment.

Information and an email from the press office

On April 24, at 5 a.m., El Confidencial published that a judge had opened an investigation against Begoña Gómez for “allegedly committing crimes of influence peddling and corruption in the private sector.”

At 9:21 a.m. that day, the press service of the Madrid Courts sends an email to journalists with the following text: “The Court of Instruction No. 41 of Madrid initiated on April 16, 2024 an investigation procedure of the crimes of influence peddling and corporate corruption against Begoña Gómez, after receiving a complaint from Clean Hands through regular distribution. The investigation procedure is declared secret.”

Early that Wednesday, all media published that Begoña Gómez was being investigated by a judge after a complaint from Hands Cleans. That same morning too the complaint is made publicwho leads the far-right pseudo-union “against Begoña Gómez, wife of the President of the Government.”

With all this public information and with the personal notification to Gómez that proceedings had been opened against her, which reached her on April 24, her lawyer asks to appear in the case granting her client “the status of investigated”. the details of the accusations against her when the case was shrouded in secrecy. The document will be sent at four in the afternoon.

It is this letter that several media outlets and the PP rely on to discredit Sánchez, who knew his wife was under investigation when he wrote the letter. But the news was public from the first hour, the press service itself reported on the investigation and it was precisely those facts that motivated the letter from the president of the government and in which Sánchez directly alluded to the investigation.

Furthermore, Gómez's status as it is currently under investigation is currently a procedural mechanism to guarantee his right to defense, which does not imply a higher level of accusation against the wife of the President of the Government. This is what the judge himself who is investigating the case says.

A mechanism to guarantee your defense

An inquest always begins the same: when an order hears the complaint or complaint and states that there are indications to open the case. This is also the time to explain who is being investigated, in case they have been identified and no steps need to be taken to find out who the potential suspect is. In the case of Manos Cleans' complaint, there was no doubt: the criminal case was against Begoña Gómez.

From that moment on, depending on the case, there is no uniform action by the judges: sometimes the first thing done is to call the suspect to testify, but sometimes other procedures are started first. In the case of Begoña Gómez, the magistrate has chosen to request reports and call several people to testify, before taking the step to make effective the accusation against the wife of the President of the Government and give her an appointment to testify in court.

What is unitary is the legal obligation to inform the suspect from the first moment that he is being investigated. “The recognition of a complaint or complaint, and any procedural action resulting in the imputation of a criminal offense against a specific person or persons, will be immediately brought to the attention of those alleged to be responsible,” says the Criminal Procedure Act ( LeCrim) in his article. Article 118.5.

From there, the law does not offer much doubt because the right to defense comes into play: the combination of Article 24.2 of the Constitution and Article 118 of the LeCrim requires allowing a lawyer to appear and have access to the entire procedure. Although, as in the case of Begoña Gómez, her status as an investigator has not yet translated into a summons as a suspect, which at least on paper must be done in a reasoned manner.

The fact that her name appears in the titles of the resolutions is also not exceptional, if you consider that the complaint is exclusively against her and that the judge has informed her that she is the person against whom the investigation is being conducted, even though she not called to testify.

In an order dated April 16, Judge Juan Carlos Peinado points out with regard to Begoña Gómez that, although he will not call her to testify, as is currently being investigated, “given that said procedural condition is attributed to her, it is considered, in view of the purposes “To prevent the defenselessness prohibited by Article 24 of the Spanish Constitution, it is necessary that this order be transferred to you.”

Sánchez makes several references to the investigation in his letter, published on the afternoon of April 24. “As you already know, and if I do not inform you, a court in Madrid has opened preliminary proceedings against my wife, Begoña Gómez,” he writes at the beginning, and later continued: “Of course, Begoña will preserve her decency and will cooperate with the Justice Department in whatever is necessary to clarify facts that seem as scandalous as they do not exist.”

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