Economy Minister Chris Cardona has refused to comment on his decision not to restart a libel case against Daphne Caruana Galizia for her story that he had visited a German brothel while on official duty.
The courts dropped Cardona’s libel case last May, following a request by the Caruana Galizia family’s lawyer on the basis of the minister having repeatedly not turned up to court to testify.
The law gave Cardona three months to re-open the case but this deadline passed last Friday, meaning he will have to pay for the late journalist family’s legal costs.
A separate libel case, instigated by Cardona’s aide Joe Gerada, who Caruana Galizia alleged was in the FKK Acapulco brothel with Cardona, remains open.
Daphne Caruana Galizia’s relatives said Cardona’s decision not to re-open the libel case was a sign that he was indeed at the German brothel. Her son Matthew described Cardona as “a liar, a wanker and a scoundrel” and his brother Andrew said the minister wants to avoid the publication of his phone TAP records, preserved by the court, for the night he was supposed to be at the brothel.
PN MEP Roberta Metsola questioned why Cardona no longer wants to clear his name after having frozen Caruana Galizia’s assets for this libel case and after having sworn on the Bible that he wasn’t at the brothel.
Ask yourselves why, after all those crocodile tears, libel suits, freezing of journalists’ bank accounts, weepy press conferences and denials sworn on bibles, why, would Minister Cardona not want to clear his name? #SleazePersonified https://t.co/0vI6kjWWKV
— Roberta Metsola MEP (@RobertaMetsola) September 3, 2018
Portuguese S&D Ana Gomes – a harsh critic of the Maltese government – went as far as to suggest Cardona has something to hide which could shed light on the assassination of Caruana Galizia.
So, Minister Chris Cardona has something to hide. Maybe something that could help shed light on the assassination of #DaphneCaruanaGalizia. Has he yet been questioned by #Malta’Police or Magistrates? If not, why not???
— Ana Gomes, MEP (@AnaGomesMEP) September 3, 2018
However, despite all these suggestions, Cardona refused to comment on his decision not to re-instate libel proceedings against Caruana Galizia. Instead, he referred us to a press release he had released when the case was dropped last May.
Back then, Cardona said that he couldn’t attend the court sitting due to government work commitments and that it was the Caruana Galizias, and not himself, who had requested the case be dropped.
Indeed, Cardona’s lawyer Paul Lia had officially that requested Caruana Galizia’s three sons inherit the case from their mother. However, the Caruana Galizia family’s lawyer Joe Zammit Maempel said the 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 then 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.
The SMS messages presented in court by Chris Cardona’s lawyer
During that sitting, Lia also revealed that Cardona has SMS messages which proved that Daphne Caruana Galizia had no idea who her ‘Brothelgate’ source was and that she made no attempt to verify the story.
The texts, which were published on One News, did not come from Caruana Galizia’s main source who allegedly sighted Cardona and Gerada at the brothel with his own eyes. Instead, they appear to have originated from a second ‘source’, who had informed Caruana Galizia that Cardona and Gerada had returned to the same brothel the following afternoon.