U.S. Magistrate Rejects Mexican Attempt to Extradite Former Prosecutor
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) _ A U.S. magistrate refused to extradite a former Mexican deputy attorney general, saying Monday there was not enough evidence to support charges he embezzled the equivalent of $750,000 while in office.
The same magistrate, Ronald J. Hedges, had also refused in June to extradite Mario Ruiz Massieu on charges he obstructed a Mexican investigation into the assassination of his brother, who was the No. 2 politician in Mexico’s ruling party, in order to protect the brother of then-President Carlos Salinas de Gortari.
Ruiz Massieu remains in custody pending a decision from Hedges on another version of the obstruction charges. That will probably be decided next month.
Hedges said he was mindful of the importance that diplomats in both countries have placed on the extradition, but maintained that government lawyers have not met the burden of proof to grant the request.
Ruiz Massieu’s New Jersey lawyer, Cathy Fleming, applauded the ruling and expressed hope that ``at some point the judge could find special circumstance and grant bail.″
Justice Department spokesman John Russell said only his department was studying the ruling.
Ruiz Massieu has been held at an undisclosed location since his arrest in March at Newark International Airport on a currency reporting charge.
He is charged in Mexico with intimidating witnesses to protect Raul Salinas de Gortari during the investigation into last year’s assassination of Jose Francisco Ruiz Massieu, the No. 2 person in Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party.
Gunman Daniel Aguilar Trevino and six accomplices were sentenced to terms ranging from 37 to 50 years for the killing. Raul Salinas de Gortari has been charged with planning the assassination.