An Argentine prosecutor found dead shortly before he was about to make explosive allegations about President Cristina Kirchner took a bullet point-blank to his forehead, justice officials said Saturday.
Authorities said Diego Lagomarsino, a computer expert and colleague who said he had brought prosecutor Alberto Nisman a handgun Saturday night at his request, has been barred from leaving Argentina.
Nisman was found dead with a bullet to the head in his Buenos Aires home on Sunday, just before he was set to go before a congressional hearing to accuse Kirchner and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman of shielding Iranian officials implicated in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center that killed 85 people.
It was Argentina’s worst terror attack in modern history. It has never gone to trial fully. Several pretrials were cancelled amid serious irregularities involving judges and Argentine intelligence staff.
Investigators, who initially said Nisman appeared to have committed suicide, have not ruled out homicide or “induced suicide.”
Kirchner, meanwhile, has said she believes the 51-year-old was murdered in a plot to implicate her government in a coverup.
Prosecutor Viviana Fein, who is leading the investigation, said investigators were waiting for ballistics analysis, including a DNA comparison, and to see whether the bullet taken from the body matches the .22-caliber weapon found at the scene.
Fein later told local television that the shot was fired “from a distance no greater than a centimeter” while reiterating her contention that there was no evidence third parties took part in the actual shooting itself.
“We are still awaiting the toxicological and tissue testing, which can take a bit longer,” she added.
Before his demise, Nisman had filed a 280-page complaint charging that Kirchner had issued an “express directive” to shield a group of Iranian suspects in the 1994 bombing.
Nisman contended that the government had agreed to swap grain for oil with Tehran in exchange for withdrawing “red notices” to Interpol seeking the arrests of the former and current Iranian officials accused in the unsolved case.
Since 2006, Argentine courts have demanded the extradition of eight Iranians, including former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, former defense minister Ahmad Vahidi and Iran’s former cultural attache in Buenos Aires, Mohsen Rabbani, for the bombing.
But in 2013, Kirchner signed a memorandum of understanding with Tehran agreeing to set up a “truth commission” to investigate the bombing and allowing Argentine prosecutors to question the suspects in Iran.
The rapprochement was vehemently opposed at the time by Jewish community leaders, who charged it was “unconstitutional.”
Argentina’s Jewish community is Latin America’s largest.
‘Do you love Puerto Rico?’: Fox News’ Shep Smith rips governor to shreds
Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló was outed for cold and heartless comments he exchanged about his own island in wake of the horrific hurricanes that destroyed the island in 2017. He's also being forced to ask questions about the corruption involving the funding for hurricane relief. Nearly 1 million people have taken to the streets demanding accountability and action.
In his first interview, Rosselló may have assumed he'd meet a friendly audience on Fox News, but Shep Smith let him have it.
"The corruption is rampant in Puerto Rico," Smith said. "Economically Puerto Rico is in a fiscal crisis, $70 billion in debt and a 13-year recession. In the leaked 900 pages of profanity-laced messages, dubbed RickyGate, after you, sir, you made light of the casualties of the Hurricane Maria, you tossed homophobic and misogynistic remarks, You were calling the former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverit a whore. Of the oversight board that rules Puerto Rico's finances, you said, 'Go F-yourself. And when your representative to that board he said he is salivating to shoot the woman who is the mayor of San Juan, you said, 'You’d be doing me a grand favor.' So, attacks on woman, gays, dead relatives on your own island and after that who is left to support you? Is it even safe for you to govern?"
Puerto Ricans launch biggest protest yet against governor
Angry protesters blocked the main road in Puerto Rico's capital on Monday as they launched what was expected to be the largest yet of a wave of demonstrations seeking the resignation of the US territory's embattled governor.
Marching under sunny skies in San Juan, the demonstrators sang, chanted, danced and carried the territory's red, white and blue flag with a lone star.
Altogether, hundreds of thousands were expected to turn out.
Puerto Ricans are up in arms over alleged corruption involving money meant to be for victims of Hurricane Maria in 2017, which left nearly 3,000 dead.
‘Simply astonishing’: Retired general sounds the alarm on Trump’s ‘utter breakdown’ in foreign policy process
Ret. Gen. Barry McCaffrey on Monday sounded the alarm on President Donald Trump's foreign policy team, which he said had shown no indications that it is capable of dealing with a real crisis on the world stage.
While appearing on MSNBC, McCaffrey was asked about a quote from former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in which he said that the entire Trump foreign policy team is being held hostage to the president's impulsive tweets.
"I think the most important thing Panetta said here was the utter breakdown of a national security process," he explained. "It's simply astonishing! [Defense Secretary nominee Mark] Esper still hasn't been confirmed, you've had a series of acting secretaries of defense, no one really understands what [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo, who is a very intelligent person, is up to."