Soccer-Lawyer lambasts 'trial by media' in Maradona case

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: Maradona's fans remember the idol with a colorful memorial in Buenos Aires

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) -A defense lawyer involved in the case around the death in Argentina last year of soccer star Maradona slammed what he called a "trial by media" on Monday after the leak of a report last week alleged "deficient and reckless" behavior by the footballer's medical team.

Maradona, the revered former Boca Juniors and Napoli star who had battled alcohol and drug addiction for many years, died last November from heart failure after undergoing brain surgery earlier that month.

According to the report, a medical board formally appointed to investigate his death concluded that several members of his medical team acted in an "inappropriate, deficient and reckless manner," and said he was not properly monitored before he died.

That report, shared with Reuters and other media outlets last week, was presented to prosecutors in Buenos Aires on Monday.

No charges have yet been brought in the case and the lawyer for Maradona's psychiatrist said selective leaking was undermining the legal process.

"The evidence that was leaked, as well as the audios and witness testimony, the extracts, including edited audios and chats, involve less than half of the defendants, is not that striking?" Vadim Mischanchuk told reporters.

"It would seem there is an intention to produce a trial by media, a trial prior to the delivery of justice, and that is not good at all."

Four of Maradona's sisters also condemned the media leaks.

"We want to express our indignation at seeing our brother’s privacy violated once again," Kitty, Ana, Lili and Cali Maradona wrote.

"In light of it all we ask: Who benefits from these leaks? Diego did so much in his life for Argentines and today all we ask is for his memory to be respected."

Maradona's death rocked the South American nation, prompting a period of mourning and angry finger pointing about who was to blame.

A lawyer for Maradona's son Dieguito said the report showed "criminal conduct" in the case, adding he would press for full accountability.

Maradona's sisters agreed, saying, "We ask that those responsible face the maximum punishment (because) our beloved Diego did not deserve to die this way."

(Reporting by Ramiro Scandalo in Buenos Aires and Andrew Downie in London, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)