March 13, 2020 / 10:31 PM / 24 days ago

Honduran Supreme Court orders new trial for former first lady

FILE PHOTO: Former first lady Rosa Elena Bonilla de Lobo arrives at a court hearing to face graft charges, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras August 20, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera/File Photo

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - The Honduran Supreme Court of Justice on Friday overturned a former first lady’s 58-year prison sentence and ordered a new trial, concluding that previous investigations were riddled with “contradictory facts and inconsistencies.”

Rosa Elena Bonilla, wife of ex-president Porfirio Lobo, was sentenced last year on charges of fraud and undue appropriation of funds. She has been in custody since February 2018.

After learning of the court’s order, Juan Berganza, a lawyer for Bonilla, told reporters that her legal team will request that she be released as the new trial is pending.

Bonilla was accused of misusing the equivalent of $779,000 between 2010 and 2014, funds from international donations and public coffers meant for social programs, according to an investigation the attorney general’s office and a unit of the Organization of American States.

Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Writing by Julia Love; Editing by Daniel Wallis

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