Sports

Lawyer slams ‘trial by media’ in Maradona case

A defense lawyer involved in the case around the death in Argentina last year of football star Diego Maradona slammed what he called a “trial by media” on Monday after the leak of a report last week alleged “deficient and reckless” behavior by the footballer’s medical team.

Maradona, the revered former Boca Juniors and Napoli star who had battled alcohol and drug addiction for many years, died last November from heart failure after undergoing brain surgery earlier that month.

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According to the report, a medical board formally appointed to investigate his death concluded that several members of his medical team acted in an “inappropriate, deficient and reckless manner,” and said he was not properly monitored before he died.

That report, shared with Reuters and other media outlets last week, is due to be presented to prosecutors in Buenos Aires on Monday.

That medical report on the death of Maradona given to prosecutors Monday said the Argentine agonized for more than 12 hours, did not receive adequate treatment and could still be alive if he had been properly hospitalized.

The document further complicates the defence of seven people under investigation in the case, including brain surgeon Leopoldo Luque and psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov, both of whom worked for Maradona.

The medical report said “the patient’s signs of risk of life were ignored,” adding that Maradona “showed unequivocal signs of a prolonged agony period” of at least 12 hours.

Still, no charges have yet been brought in the case and the lawyer for Maradona’s psychiatrist said selective leaking was undermining the legal process.

“The evidence that was leaked, as well as the audios and witness testimony, the extracts, including edited audios and chats, involve less than half of the defendants, is not that striking?” Vadim Mischanchuk told reporters.

“It would seem there is an intention to produce a trial by media, a trial prior to the delivery of justice, and that is not good at all.”

Maradona’s death rocked the South American nation, prompting a period of mourning and angry finger pointing about who was to blame.

A lawyer for Maradona’s son Dieguito said the report showed “criminal conduct” in the case, adding he would press for full accountability.

However, Julio Rivas, a lawyer for Luque, said he will try to annul the medical forensics of the report

“They have made a biased report, a bad one, with no scientific foundation,” he said.

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