Economy Minister Chris Cardona has said he is in possession of SMS communication between Daphne Caruana Galizia and the source behind the assassinated journalist’s story that the minister had attended a brothel while on an official trip to Germany.
“The texts clearly indicate that Caruana Galizia did not know the identity of the source and never sought to verify the identity and the content of these messages,” Cardona said. “Additionally, the messages from this source were sent from Malta and not from Germany.”
The ‘Brothelgate’ story took a fresh twist today, after a magistrate dropped a libel suit Cardona had instigated against Caruana Galizia, after the minister failed to turn up in court.
Cardona’s lawyer Pawlu Lia had presented a court application, which argued that the failure of Caruana Galizia’s three sons to turn up for the sitting should be legally interpreted as an admission of guilt. However, lawyer Joe Zammit Maempel – appearing for the Caruana Galizias – said that the late journalist’s sons were not in Malta on the recommendation of the police and that they will file a note requesting that their father Peter take their place. The police later issued an official statement to deny this claim.
Zammit Maempel counter-argued that the case should be dropped because Cardona himself had not shown up for any recent sittings, a request which prompted magistrate Francesco Depasquele to drop the libel case.
However, another libel case against Caruana Galizia in relation to her FKK Acapulco story is still alive – the one filed by Cardona’s aide Joe Gerada, who the late journalist claimed had accompanied the minister to the Velbert brothel.
Upon the request of Daphne Caruana Galizia, the court had preserved the Cardona’s and Gerada’s phone TAP records for the night they were supposed to be at the brothel. Cardona has repeatedly decried the story as a lie and said he and his aide spent the night at the hotel he was staying at. However, he tried to stop the court from preserving his phone records, arguing that Caruana Galizia should have provided the evidence to back up her story.
Although Cardona’s case is now dropped, it is likely that his phone records are still preserved in court as a result of Gerada’s open libel case. However, their lawyers have now requested the court also preserve the call logs and SMS messages between Caruana Galizia and the person they believe was her source.
This legal move has effectively placed the late journalist’s family in a Catch-22. If they choose to drop the case against Gerada, then the phone records they believe will prove their mother was telling the truth will be lost forever. If they choose to pursue the case, then their mother’s source could be exposed and details of her communication with him made public.