By MARK LORENZANA
Javier Coello Trejo, former lawyer of Emilio Lozoya Austin — the disgraced former CEO of Mexican state-run oil giant Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), who is currently in custody on corruption charges — said on Tuesday, June 28, that he will file a lawsuit for moral damages against Mexican Attorney General (FGR) Alejandro Gertz Manero.
On Thursday, June 23, a leaked audio recording of an alleged conversation between Gertz Manero and Emilio Lozoya Thalmann, father of Lozoya Austin, began circulating online and on social media. In that conversation, Gertz Manero purportedly called Coello Trejo a “bandit lawyer.”
“The only thing I want is for him (Gertz Manero) to clarify why he calls me a bandit. Did I steal something from him? And if so, when?” Coello Trejo said. “I did not even charge him a peso (when Coello Trejo took on the Federico Gertz case).”
Gertz Manero had previously charged his brother’s wife and niece — Laura Morán Servín and Alejandra Guadalupe Cuevas Morán (who were then aged 94 and 68, respectively) — for the death of his brother Federico Gertz, who died in 2015 in the ABC Medical Center at age 82 from chronic heart failure. On Sept. 14, 2021, a Mexican federal judge annulled the arrest warrant and the formal prison order issued against the two women.
This is not the first time Mexico’s controversial attorney general has been allegedly caught on tape. On March 4 of this year, audio recordings leaked on YouTube appeared to show Gertz Manero cursing about a Mexican Supreme Court justice who wouldn’t agree with his demand to keep his in-laws incarcerated. A voice identified as that of Gertz Manero could be heard on the audio calling his niece, Cuevas Morán, an obscenity and asking an assistant how they could use appeals to avoid her being released.
Back then, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) defended Gertz Manero, claiming that the leaked recordings were probably part of a “conservative plot” to discredit him and his administration.
After this recent leaked tape that the attorney general is once again allegedly embroiled in, Coello Trejo said that he believes Gertz Manero will still continue to lead Mexico’s Office of the Attorney General because López Obrador “continues to believe in him and trust him.” Coello Trejo is also suing Lozoya Austin for fraud.
This trust by López Obrador for Gertz Manero has endured amid numerous controversies that the attorney general has figured in, which aren’t limited to his alleged conversations being repeatedly caught on tape.
In September of last year, Gertz Manero asked a federal judge to jail 31 renowned Mexican scientists on charges of organized crime and money laundering. The same group of scientists, researchers and academics had previously accused the attorney general of plagiarism.
The recent leaked recordings also appear to show the attorney general allegedly pressuring Lozoya Thalmann to withdraw an injunction, and threatening him to change his son’s lawyer or else he will “lose” everything.
Another of the leaked recordings allegedly involve Deputy Attorney for Competence Control of the Prosecutor’s Office Juan Ramos López, believed to be Gertz Manero’s right-hand man, instructing Lozoya Thalmann to compile the documents that he must bring to the initial hearing of his wife, Gilda Margarita Austin y Solís.