LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles Superior Court judge denied Naasón Joaquín García’s defense request to drop the charges for alleged sexual abuse of minors and set the trial date for the leader of the La Luz del Mundo church for June.
For more than two years, Joaquín’s defense attorneys requested several stays and even took the case to a state appeals court. However, on Monday the judge set a trial date that is expected to last at least eight weeks.
Almost three years after Naasón Joaquín’s arrest in California, in the second hearing of the day, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ronald Coen determined that the trial of the leader of La Luz del Mundo, a church based in Guadalajara , Mexico, should start next June 6.
Initially, Naasón’s trial was scheduled for May 9, but his lawyer cannot represent him because he is litigating another case in Van Nuys on the same date. Joaquín faces 23 charges of sexual abuse of minors, child pornography, sex trafficking, rape and other crimes.
The last strategy of the defense to postpone the trial was to argue that the state prosecutor’s office used false evidence and edited text messages from the complainants to frame their client, however, another judge in a separate hearing denied the motion because the defense attorneys did not They were able to verify that text messages from complainants were exculpatory for some crimes, such as the alleged rape of a teenager who was 15 years old when the events occurred.
The first magistrate of the two hearings that day also reprimanded the state prosecutor’s office for not delivering favorable evidence on Joaquín’s case on time.
In a statement, the Light of the World church said “the defense team has told us that it will firmly request an appeal of the judge’s ruling. We have full confidence that the time will come when the innocence and honorability of the apostle Naasón Joaquín will be proven.”
Naasón Joaquín García, 52, has pleaded not guilty and his lawyers have indicated in a motion that they fear he will be sentenced to life in prison if found guilty.
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La Luz del Mundo case: judge refuses to withdraw charges against Naasón García for alleged sexual abuse of minors