Everything indicates that the information that could be extracted from the mobile that the aggressor was carrying has been lost, Fernando Sabagduring the attack on Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. This is the main evidence in the case of the attempted assassination of the Argentine vice president. On the screen of the device the legend “factory reset phone” appeared. The very night of the attack, Judge María Eugenia Capuchetti and her secretary Federico Clerc arranged for the Federal Police to carry out the extraction of the information, in the same courthouse. Federal technicians brought the system of Israeli origin, UFED, introduced the device, but failed because they did not have the password with which Sabag secured the mobile. For the Federal, all the information was there, but it could not be accessed.
On Friday, during the interrogations, the aggressor refused to hand over the access code to the device. Before that, after several unsuccessful attempts, the phone was placed in an envelope, which was placed in the courthouse safe. The next day, the Airport Security Police (PSA) reported that it had a new generation UFED system, for which the device was sent to the PSA headquarters in Ezeiza.
The transfer was made by officials of the court itself. Arrived at Ezeiza, the PSA put in a record that the envelope was open and the phone turned on in airplane mode. In court they said that it had indeed been kept that way. But the serious thing was that introduced in the UFED, the legend “factory reset phone” came out, that is to say that all information was erased.
The judge ordered that this Sunday, at 9 in the morning, the experts who intervened should testify and explain what happened. One hypothesis is that the attempts made by the Federal, without the password, resulted in the phone being reset. It will also be necessary to analyze what happened with the envelope and with the fact that the mobile was on. Is there any chance that it can retrieve the information, because it could be in the cloud or by some other technical pathbut no one is very optimistic.
Today, the main hypothesis that the investigators handle is that Fernando Sabag acted alone, that there was no organization behind it: however, the telephone was of the utmost importance to consolidate that hypothesis or reject it.
The mobile journey
Capuchetti and his secretary ordered that the Samsung Galaxy A50 that Sabag was carrying in his jacket be delivered immediately to his court, very shortly after the attack. It arrived in Commodore Py on Thursday night, in an envelope, and the magistrate decided to extract all the information immediately, precisely looking for accomplices. The envelope was sealed and chain of custody..
When the Federal technicians arrived, the envelope was opened by Secretary Clerc and inserted into the UFED device. The attempt failed because the password was not available, but the information was still there, said the Federal technicians. At no time did the legend “factory reset phone” appear. For that reason it was put back in the -opened- envelope and kept in the court safe. According to those who were there that night, the phone was put in the envelope in airplane mode to prevent it from being able to connect remotely. The chip and memory were taken out and glued into the case.
The next day, Friday, the PSA reported that it had a more modern UFED system than that of the Federal Police. The judge then arranged for a clerk from her court and her own custody to take the envelope to the PSA. When it arrived in Ezeiza, the technicians of the latter force stated that the envelope was open – that’s how it left the court because it was with the secretary carrying it – and it was also lit, which is also how it left Comodoro Py. The surprise came later: placed on the device, first “error” and then “factory reset phone” appeared on the screen.
The investigation of what happened
The judge ordered on Saturday evening that the PSA make a report on what happened and summoned for nine o’clock on Sunday morning, in his court, all those who had to do with the mobile phone.
As initially explained by the technicians, there are two possible reasons for what happened. The insistence of the Federal, without a password, automatically reset the phone and caused the information to be lost. Or someone has remotely accessed and deleted the content.
In court they ruled out this last alternative, but everything is under study. We will have to see if there is any other variant that explains the reset and, above all, if there is the possibility of recovering the data. Some mentioned the option of having the information in the cloud.
Those who were in the interrogation did not perceive Sabag as a sophisticated person who could devise complex strategies. He didn’t look defiant, nor did he look repentant or weak. He was in an intermediate stage but, in that context, when questioned, he refused to give up the password for his phone. There were only moments of fury when he referred to the militants who arrested him and, according to what he said, they punched him in the eye. That’s why he asked for an ophthalmologist.
The keys to the case
Judge Capuchetti and prosecutor Carlos Rívolo are almost certain that Sabag arrived alone at the corner of Juncal and Uruguay, approached Cristina Kirchner and took the 32-caliber pistol out of his pocket when the vice president was less than a meter away. In principle, does not appear to have collaborated with anyone at the scenethere is no evidence of a plot or a maneuver in which, for example, he arrived nearby and someone handed him the weapon.
Everything indicates that the Bersa -as anticipated Page 12– comes from Mariano Alvarez, a neighbor of the attacker, deceased. Alvarez lived on Terrada Street, in the Paternal neighborhood, like Sabag. Some say that he bought it from the neighbor, others that he stole it. But the additional element that indicates that he carried the pistol himself is that the 100 projectiles found in Uriburu 729 in San Martín are 7.65 caliber, compatible with the weapon used in the attack. And one of the boxes was made in 1999, so he had it for a long time.
To consolidate the hypothesis that he acted alone, they are images from security cameras throughout the area, the phone and the computer are essential found in the home of San Martin. The judge and the prosecutor planned to see all the available images this Sunday, but the computer is still being examined and the content of the mobile is in danger.
There is a significant fact: the computer used it to enter social networks. There is suspicion that the girlfriend, Alba, with whom he lived in San Martín, deleted all Sabag’s participation in social networks, but it is also possible that the pages themselves -Facebook, Instagram- have immediately unsubscribed. The judge considers taking a statement from Alba and before she does that, she first needs to determine if she had any degree of participation in the attack. Again, the mobile, the cameras and the computer are essential.
At the time it reaches a conclusion on the prosecution of Sabag, the judge will determine the classification of the crime. For now, he has the attempted homicide, plus the illegal carrying of the firearm, plus the possession of the 100 bullets found in his house in San Martín.
The Ministry of Security ordered that the car in which Cristina Fernández de Kirchner travels be changed. Since this Friday she uses an armored Ford Mondeo. Before the judge, the vice president said that she was very satisfied with her security personnel, although she admitted that she is “unruly”, that is, complicated to guard.
The evolution of the judicial process
From the interrogation, there is a period of ten days for the magistrate to resolve the procedural situation. The safest thing is that the prosecutor Rívolo presents the accusation in an opinion. In Comodoro Py they affirm that Capuchetti is not going to rush and that he will decide the qualification when he has all the elements.
A The key point is whether he qualifies the act as attempted homicide aggravated by premeditation and treachery, to which are added the illegal carrying of weapons and the possession of projectiles. Fernández de Kirchner’s lawyer in the cases in which he appeared as the plaintiff, Gregorio Dalbón, said on C5N that if the president appoints him to represent her, she will seek to charge for attempted femicide. Everything will be seen in the next two weeks.
But to support the accusation, the mobile phone was a fundamental piece. And, perhaps the most serious, is that circumstances that occurred in other relevant cases, including the two attacks, are repeated.
In the AMIA case, the wiretapping of one of the defendants, Carlos Telleldín, disappeared. In the case of the Embassy of Israel, the deceased were not even counted properly: it was said that there were 29 victims and in the end there were 22. It would be essential that such important evidence in the case being investigated is not lost, nothing more and nothing less, the attempted assassination of the nation’s vice president.