The investigation into the attempted assassination of Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in September last year has taken another twist: on Monday it emerged that one of the defendants, Brenda Uliarte, was altering her version of events in a dramatic new statement.
Uliarte, who has been detained for more than a year on charges of being a co-perpetrator of the plot to kill the former president, presented a written statement in which she tried to distance herself from her former boyfriend, would-be assailant Fernando Sabag Montiel, and even claims she tried to halt the attack.
In a court writ, the 23-year-old claimed their relationship was not as intimate as has been portrayed, saying it lasted for “a month and a half.” Linking Sabag Montiel to the extreme-right political organisation Revolución Federal, she points the finger at possible financiers of the attack and declares her former partner was incapable of planning the attack solo, leading her to deduce that there was “clearly somebody behind” the plot to kill Fernández de Kirchner.
The young woman said that she manifestly had nothing to do with the attempt, throwing all the responsibility onto Sabag Montiel. Describing the man as "manipulative," she also alleges episodes of gender violence.
"Today I’m in a living hell due to him and his decisions," she declares.
On September 1, 2022, Sabag Montiel, armed with a pistol, mingled with a group of the vice-president’s supporters in front of her apartment in Recoleta. The former president survived after the gun brandished by the assailant failed to fire.
Sabag Montiel and Uliarte have both been charged with "double homicide aggravated by premeditated intent and by the premeditated concurrence of two or more persons, aggravated by the use of a firearm, in the degree of attempt.”
Nicolás Gabriel Carrizo, 27, who employed the couple as street vendors, is charged as a "necessary participant" in the attempted assassination.
A fourth individual, Agustina Díaz, a friend of Uliarte who was detained for over a month after the attempted attack, was acquitted after case prosecutor Carlos Rívolo excluded Díaz from the accusations made against the aforementioned trio.
Wanted to talk
Uliarte’s lawyer Carlos Telleldín, had already anticipated that his client wanted to talk. In the end, the defendant decided to do so via expanding her written testimony and not before the Tribunal Oral Federal judges trying the case.
Telleldín, who almost three decades ago was accused of selling the vehicle used for the car-bomb destroying the AMIA Jewish community centre in 1994, has been Uliarte’s new lawyer since June when he was accepted by Judge María Eugenia Capuchetti.
Sources close to the defence say Uliarte is considering adding to the written statement with evidence in the next few days.
Uliarte affirms that on September 1, 2022, she tried to get Sabag Montiel to back out of the attempted murder but he persisted and pushed her away, calling her a “coward.”
“He played the bad guy with people but afterwards did nothing to them, ending up by taking it out on me, that’s why I always thought that he was lying or joking,” she recalled while describing alleged scenes of physical violence she suffered.
“I don’t know why Nando did this but I do know him to be incapable of organising and doing all this by himself. There is clearly somebody behind [it],” she writes.
“He [Sabag Montiel] was always telling me that he wanted her [Fernández de Kirchner] dead, that she had shitted on the country but then a lot of Argentines say that. I really did not believe that he was serious, I always thought until the very day of the attack that he was having me on to scare me and manipulate me,” reads the document signed by Uliarte.
As for her link to Revolución Federal, Uliarte said that it had been produced via Sabag Montiel and that she only went to the organisation’s headquarters once with her then-partner.
"He was part of all that, not me," she writes, explaining that she had never seen Revolución Federal leader Jonathan Morel in person and only attended some marches to sell candy floss.
Uliarte further assures that Sabag Montiel had told her that Revolución Federal received financing. "There were people in contact with the anti-K government who paid us to go on the marches," she describes. According to the young woman, her boyfriend received the money and she just kept him company.
Revolución Federal has been under investigation by the courts because one of their leaders received money from one of the companies of Caputo Hermanos.
As to her relationship with Carrizo, the leader of the candy floss sellers who is also detained, Uliarte alleges: “They want to make it seem like I was bossing him [Sabag Montiel] around and that’s a total lie, they are covering up for him so that that the truth about him and his contacts does not come out.”
Reacting to Uliarte’s statement on Thursday, Morel (who is involved in the case due to alleged money received from Caputo Hermanos), responded by saying "she’s lying or confused" and denying the allegations involving his Revolución Federal organisation and Sabag Montiel.
Morel said that it was impossible for the young woman to have gone to the headquarters of Revolución Federal because the group did not have one.
He also denied that Uliarte had attended any demonstrations to sell candy floss apart from the one on August 18, 2022. Morel further rejected the hypothesis that his group had been financed to attend marches. Along those lines he also assured that he had never met Sabag Montiel or Carrizo.
In her statement, Uliarte also brings up Juntos por el Cambio-PRO deputy Gerardo Milman as a presumed source of financing, supporting a hypothesis pushed by Fernández de Kirchner and her legal team.
“I never saw Milman but they said that he paid several people to participate in demonstrations and thus kick up disturbances and violence around the residence of Cristina Kirchner," narrates Uliarte.
“I also once heard him talking to a girl named Carolina and when I asked him who she was, he told me that she was a friend’s secretary who was giving him a hand so I shouldn’t go busting his balls with my jealousy,” she adds.
Even with no specific allusion, the paragraph exudes a reference to Carolina Gómez Mónaco, the former Miss Argentina who works as one of Milman’s secretaries.
“In the month and a half we were together, he named her two or three times,” asserts Uliarte.
Fernández de Kirchner has repeatedly asked for more evidence to be collected in the case and believes the attack is linked to sectors of the opposition, including Milman.
An advisor of the Frente de Todos parliamentary caucus previously testified that 48 hours before the attack, Milman had met up with two female aides in a café near Congress, telling them that he would be on the Atlantic coast “when they kill” the vice-president.
Milman, who has not been indicted, denies the allegation and having made the statement. Gómez Mónaco, one of Milman’s secretaries, also made similar denials in court last week. She testified in a case where both Milman and herself are among those being investigated for alleged embezzlement.
“I’ve already explained that Gerardo F. Milman never affirmed that or anything similar in my presence, never,” affirmed Gómez Mónaco in a written statement presented to Federal Judge Julián Ercolini.
Gómez Mónaco declared herself to be the “victim of a political and media operation" for which she held especially responsible the lawyer pushing the investigation, Yamil Castro Bianchi.