Arnaldo Claudio (GFR Media)

Arnaldo Claudio filed a complaint before the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) alleging a conspiracy of Puerto Rican government officials against him.

The Monitor's complaint is based on expressions included in private chats between officials close to Ricardo Rosselló, who was also part of the chat.

Claudio explained that he filed the complaint because he understood there were violations of Title 42 of the 1985 Federal Code "which speaks of 'Conspiracy to interfere with the civil rights' of a person.

"I filed a formal complaint and sent it to the FBI because I understand there was a conspiracy against me to harm me in either a physical or emotional way," Claudio said. "That's what was discussed (in the chat) and it's clear. Such a concern couldn't be left in the air and had to be taken to the FBI."

According to an excerpt from the chat, publicist Edwin Miranda shared a El Nuevo Día story about Claudio's report in which he alleges reprisals against police officers linked to the scandal over the use of a Police helicopter to transport civilians to La Fortaleza,  violating federal regulations.

A few minutes later, La Fortaleza's former Public Affairs Secretary Ramón Rosario indicated: "Monitor will be a major headache in 2020. He has an agenda, but we have to get our hands on it."

Shortly thereafter, according to the leaked chat, the governor's former legal advisor Alfonso Orona said: "We have to work in (Washington) DC, down in the district we're not going to get anything if the USDOJ (federal Justice Department) is not on board."

Rosario replied: "My opinion is that the revolt (revolú, Puerto Rican slang) should be created up, down and to the sides. If they don't take him out, at least he is marked... 2 years lost and they have given us a hard time."

The same day that the FURA report was released, the governor accused Claudio of acting "in bad faith" during a press conference.

"All this is something that any citizen has to worry about, when high-ranking officials conspire against a person who is doing his work, to try to harm him. When you say "mark," you can't understand anything other than harming him," said Claudio, who resigned last May.

Meanwhile, former Police Commissioner Michelle Hernández said those chat expressions reminded her of a meeting in 2017 of which she came out with the perception that government officials were trying to start a negative controversy against Claudio.

"I'm not in Puerto Rico, but according to what I've read about the chats, my perception is that there was a conspiracy to remove the federal Monitor. And that's really worrying," Hernández said in an interview with El Nuevo Día.

Hernández, who left the Police in January 2018, said she was never pressured "directly from Fortaleza" to affect Claudio's functions.

However, she said that at some point in 2017 she was called to a meeting with the governor's former legal advisor Alfonso Orona and former Public Safety Secretary Héctor Pesquera, and two other police officers.

She said the meeting was held because Orona and Pesquera "alleged that the federal Monitor was manipulating certain things within the Puerto Rican Police."

"They called me to the meeting along with two other police officers, who were allegedly involved in the situation (with Claudio). They explained that actually, their conversation with the Monitor was about the fact that the three of them were military, and that they talked (with Claudio) about that issue, and that there was nothing related to creating any kind of conspiracy within the Police."

"I didn't know anything about that. I was called in as a supervisor. I was surprised. Nothing came out of that meeting, because they explained everything. Such an event can create the perception that the conspiracy against the Monitor had been going on for a while," she added.

El Nuevo Día requested yesterday a reaction from the Department of Public Safety on whether there were any actions directed to affect the Monitor's role. However, by press time, there was no answer from that agency.

Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Director William Ramírez said the chat shows the Puerto Rican government's opposition to the Police Reform.

"I'm not surprised. There must be worse things that haven't come out yet, but we knew from the beginning there was government resistance to the Reform... Nor are we surprised that they conspired to try to remove the Monitor," Ramírez said.

He also compared the chats to the case of former U.S. President Richard Nixon recordings.

He pointed out that what "they are discussing is public governance issues, therefore, there cannot be an argument that someone violated the privacy of those conversations, because those conversations are of a public nature and should be released, since they are government officials talking about government issues."

"The creation of that chat was like creating a 'shallow government,' an underground or clandestine government, where you talk about Puerto Rico's public policy in a different way to what you do publicly," Ramírez said.

In that sense, Ramírez said the chats resemble what happened in the case of Nixon's recordings.

Ramírez recalled that when Nixon was President, he used to secretly record telephone conversations with different officials.

"Nixon recorded them thinking it was a private issue and when he was asked to hand them over, he raised an argument of presidential privilege because they were private. The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court which decided that he had to deliver them because the people had the right to know what was being said," Ramírez recalled.

"He used bad language about people, used nicknames and conspired. That's why it's so similar to the chats case," he said.


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