3. Have you deleted any emails or chats with Jesus Santrich on any of your personal or official devices as a Senator of the Republic of Colombia, including the cell phone you say allegedly was broken?
In our review of the nine questions posed by former U.S. Congressman Connie Mack to Colombian Senator Iván Cepeda in his October 22 letter, we are now entering into questions about material evidence that may link Cepeda to criminal activity by Jesus Santrich detailed in his grand jury indictment by the U.S. Southern District of New York.
It is a very simple question – did he ever delete any emails or chats with Jesus Santrich that were on his electronic devices, be they personal devices or those provided to him in an official capacity as a Senator? Let’s review why this is an objectively simple question for Cepeda to answer:
- Given the extremely high profile of Cepeda’s alliance with Santrich, and the public efforts he put into campaigning against his extradition to the United States, it is reasonable to assume that Cepeda would remember deleting communications with Santrich over the last few years.
- Given the roles that Cepeda and Santrich played in the talks in Havana, Cuba, and the campaigning in Colombia for the FARC deal, it is reasonable that their personal communications would have been extensive before, during and after that period, and would have required a lot of storage space on the devices used. Deleting those communications would be a memorable task for Cepeda, given their historic value. We can all assume he remembers those days vividly.
- While during the Uribe case, Cepeda claimed a cell phone of his “fell” in October 2018, causing “serious damage” including loss of data, the fall could not have affected his own memory of the chats and emails with Jesus Santrich that may have been on that device. There is a difference between damage to a device and manual deletion of emails and chats. The device can be given to a forensic examiner and the data can be extracted, along with evidence of deletions by the user, should he need to be sure.
- Given Cepeda’s constant repetition of his alleged respect, above all things, for the Colombian judiciary and “pertinent institutions” of justice, one should assume Cepeda would preserve all of his communications with Santrich during the crucial period between May 30, 2019 and the present day. To delete any chats or emails with Santrich or an intermediary from that period could put Cepeda in great legal jeopardy in both Colombia and the United States and would constitute obstruction of justice by those very institutions Cepeda claims to revere.
For these few reasons alone, answering this question should not only be easy, but a matter of honor for Cepeda.
His refusal to answer is baffling.