A judge makes junts ugly for separating an MP over a ‘false’ sexual harassment complaint

A judge makes junts ugly for separating an MP over a ‘false’ sexual harassment complaint

Eduard Pujol, during a plenary session in Parliament in April 2020.Eduard Pujol, during a plenary session in Parliament in April 2020. POOL (GTRES)

Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) ‘violated all rules of the right of defence’ by separating former MP Eduard Pujol after some sexual harassment complaints which the party had never investigated and which turned out to be ‘false’, according to the Barcelona- Judge who has tried for a crime of defamation and defamation against Noemí Ll., the councilor of the Independence formation in Pineda de Mar (Barcelona), who had a love affair with Pujol whom she reported to the party leadership for an alleged incident of harassment, that never existed.

Pujol “suffered serious economic, social and political damage” from the mayor’s “slanderous allegation” and from the “brilliant action of the managers” of Junts, who had “not the slightest verification of the accuracy of the allegations,” according to the accusation of the Head of the Correspondence Court No. 1 of Barcelona, ​​​​​​Joaquín Aguirre, in a car accessed by EL PAÍS, in which he confirms that there are indications that Noemí Ll.

By attributing a crime to him, even though he knew his untruth, the councilor caused Pujol to fall into “a sort of social ostracism.” The reprimand of junts, although without criminal consequences, is also significant. Judge Aguirre recalls that the right to a defense “should not be alien to the political sphere” because a violation “can cause irreparable harm to the party concerned”: in the case of Pujol, it meant the end of his political career and the “loss of job opportunities that he doesn’t know if he’ll ever recover from,” says the car.

In October 2020, the city council contacted the leaders of Junts per Catalunya along with another woman, Eva R., with whom Pujol previously had an affective and sexual relationship. Both said they were victims of sexual harassment. Pujol denied the facts but resigned as the junts’ speaker in Parliament and handed over his deputy post. The judge recalls that he was “forced to give up his case”. Eight months later and without formal complaints, Laura Borràs’ party reinstated Pujol: she returned his membership card and apologized publicly.

The alleged victims never went to the police or to court. Pujol then sought the protection of the judiciary and denounced her through his attorney Judit Gené. The cases were handled by two judges from Barcelona and had the same fate: both Noemí Ll. like Eva R. are one step away from the dock.

From the WhatsApp messages sent by Pujol to the court, “it appears that there was an intimate and sexual relationship between the two, which was absolutely authorized by the mayor”. In her testimony as an investigator, Noemí Ll. admitted they had a single sexual encounter and that when Pujol stopped calling her, she unsuccessfully “wanted to have a serious relationship.”

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The investigation was also supported by the testimony of two witnesses told by the Independence Council about the alleged episode of sexual harassment. One that the judge says is “very credible” is that of then-director of the Institut Català de les Dones, Laura M., who recounted how four months before he went to Junts, the city council went to her to discuss the alleged to explain harassment. However, when he read the news, he realized it was “an adult sexual relationship, a mutual flirtation,” he said. Without the expected support, Noemí Ll. She went to see David Saldoni, Junts organizational secretary, who reported the events to the party’s leadership and asked them to get in touch with Junts’ feminist director, Aurora Madaula. The judge’s refusal to take testimony from Madaula – believing it unnecessary – led to an appeal by the defense, which has now been dismissed.

Deposit of more than 92,000 euros

In the case of Eva R., the former deputy proved that the relationship was consensual, and in fact it was she who harassed him on social networks and blackmailed him with threats to release intimate photos. Last January, the head of Barcelona’s Investigative Court No. 29, ​​Santiago García, concluded that the woman had “exploited Pujol’s status as deputy” to subject him to “acts of pressure, intimidation and defamation”.

The two had started a relationship on Instagram in the summer of 2018, coinciding with the former MP’s split process. When Pujol wanted to end the relationship, the woman launched a campaign of harassment on WhatsApp and social networks to “gain new encounters”, according to the judge who tried the woman for insult and threats.

Eva R. was asked by the court two weeks ago to post a deposit of 92,278 euros. It is a precautionary measure, which legal sources say is unusual in this type of trial, and aims to ensure “financial responsibility” in the event of a conviction. If you don’t post bail, the judge will confiscate the woman’s assets until that amount is covered.

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