Text messages submitted in court yesterday by Economy Minister Chris Cardona to disprove Daphne Caruana Galizia’s famous story that he had visited a brothel while on an official trip to Germany did not originate from the late journalist’s primary source.
In the text conversation, which was partially published by ONE News, someone tells Caruana Galizia “….calling Joe Joe from here, enter FKK [the brothel] again where I am still since 3pm please keep me anonymous and wou…”
Caruana Galizia got back to the person eight minutes later, saying: “I will wait till 5pm. Can I call you then? You don’t need to tell me your name”.
Cardona yesterday said these texts clearly indicate that Caruana Galizia did not know the identity of her source behind the ‘Brothelgate’ story and that she never sought to verify the identity and content of the messages. Moreover, the messages were sent to the journalist from Malta and not from Germany – indicating the source was not really at the FKK Acapulco brothel.
However, the texts were sent on the 31st January, whereas Caruana Galizia had published her first story claiming Cardona was at a brothel at 11:45pm the previous day.
“Now for a very important point: my source is not some random reader who rang me or messaged me out of the blue and who I don’t know,” Caruana Galizia had said. “He is somebody who has known me since I was a baby, and who knows my family of origin over several generations. For reasons that are obvious, he would have no reason to invent the story, no reason to lie to me (but rather the opposite), and every reason to keep quiet and say nothing.”
“The facts are these: Chris Cardona, the Minister for the Economy, was in a brothel in Velbert, called the FKK Acapulco, on Monday night roughly between 7pm and 10.30pm with Joe Gerada, a consultant and ‘EU presidency policy officer’ in his Ministry’s secretariat. They were naked in the shower together, then went to the bar where they negotiated with a prostitute. Gerada went with her first, then the Minister followed him in.”
However, in another story published the following day, Caruana Galizia refers to a second source who had informed her that Cardona and Gerada had returned to the same brothel at around 4pm the following day.
“I don’t know what they did there or what time they left because my source – another Maltese man, not the same one – left at 5pm without reporting anything further, at which point they were still there,” she wrote.
The timing tallies perfectly with the times on the SMS exchange published in court by Cardona’s lawyer Pawlu Lia yesterday. If it’s true that the messages were sent from Malta and not from Germany, then the credibility of the second source who told Caruana Galizia that the minister had returned to the brothel the following day will be put into doubt.
However, it will do nothing to disprove the main source behind Caruana Galizia’s story, who allegedly saw Cardona and Gerada in the brothel with his own eyes.
These facts were first revealed on Twitter by an anonymous profile called BugM and later repeated by Caruana Galizia’s son Matthew.
Cardona and Gerada had both sued Caruana Galizia for libel, but the minister’s case was dropped yesterday following a request by the late journalist’s lawyer after the minister once again failed to turn up to court.
Gerada’s case remains open and Pawlu Lia yesterday requested the court preserve the call logs and SMS messages between Caruana Galizia and her second source.
Upon the request of Daphne Caruana Galizia, the court had already preserved 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.