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Ex-Guatemalan president says he’s innocent in graft case

October 17, 2017

FILE - In this July 22, 2016 file photo, Guatemala's jailed, former President Otto Perez Molina attends a pre-trial hearing in Guatemala City. On Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, Perez Molina told a judge he is innocent of the corruption charges against him. The former leader is imprisoned while on trial in a purported corruption scheme known as “The Line,” which allegedly involved businesses paying bribes to officials to avoid customs duties in 2013 when Perez Molina was president. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo, File)

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Former Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina told a judge Monday that he is innocent of the corruption charges against him.

The former leader is imprisoned while on trial in a purported corruption scheme known as “The Line,” which allegedly involved businesses paying bribes to officials to avoid customs duties in 2013 when Perez Molina was president.

Perez Molina called the charges baseless during a court appearance. “This is a political case that has unfortunately dragged down a lot of people who had nothing to do with it,” he said.

He said the prosecution lacks evidence, and his lawyer asked that the charges be dismissed.

Perez Molina took office in 2012 but resigned and was jailed in 2015 because of “The Line” case and other corruption charges.

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