The keys to the trial against the filmmaker Nicolás López – La Tercera

On Friday, the evidence-giving phase of the trial of filmmaker Nicolás López concluded. The instance, which lasted six weeks in room 3 of the Oral Criminal Trial Court of Viña del Mar, will today experience the closing arguments of the prosecutors, López’s defenders and the victims’ lawyers.

The case – which was investigated by the Oriente Prosecutor’s Office – began four years ago, after the publication of the report The sins of Nicolás López. The unfiltered directorin the magazine Saturday, where a group of women, including several actresses, denounced the filmmaker for workplace harassment and sexual abuse.

This will be a key week for the future of a case that shook the film and television industry, because on Tuesday the judges could report the expected verdict.

As a result of the report, the East Prosecutor’s Office opened an investigation to clarify the accusations made against the filmmaker. The complainants indicated that López had forced them to have sexual encounters after contacting them to participate in one of his films.. In addition, they accuse him that, in some cases, he used physical force after they rejected his advances.

Thus, the prosecutorial body formalized the investigation against the director in April 2019 for the crimes of Rape and sexual abuse of people over 14 years of ageas reiterated, and public outrage to good customswhich he would have committed against five victims for eight denounced facts.

The first case would have occurred in October 2004, in Viña del Mar. López met and invited a teenager to the presentation of her first film, Red Average, at the local film festival, and the subsequent celebration at the Café Journal. At the bar, the young woman would have gotten drunk and agreed to accompany the filmmaker to the Hotel Marina del Rey, where, according to the prosecution, she would have raped her. A month later, in November, the director would have committed the same crime, but in Providencia.

In mid-2012, also in Providencia, López -according to the Public Ministry- would have committed insulttouching the breasts of a second complainant (an adult woman), inside a restaurant.

Likewise, according to the prosecution’s accusation, the film director would have raped a third victimWith sexually abuse of her on three other occasionsrecorded between July 2015 and August 2016, in Providencia and Las Condes.

This last crime would have been replicated with a fourth victim, between November and December 2015, whom López, according to what was recorded in the investigation by the Public Ministry, would have immobilized and touched his home in Providencia.

Finally, the judges will have to decide on a fifth victim, who, in November 2016, would have summoned a night casting at his house and held him by force while kissing her.

In the indictment filed in 2020, the prosecution asked the court to order a sentence of 10 years and a day of presidio mayor in its medium degree for the crime of repeated rape; five years and a day of presidio mayor in its minimum degree, for the accusation of sexual abuse, and 61 days of imprisonment minor in its minimum degree for the crime of outrage against good customs.

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He also requested accessory penalties, such as his absolute perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

At the time of granting the sentences it will be key to prove the crime of outrage, allegedly committed in 2012as well as the rating finally awarded by the court.

This refers, says Article 373 of the Penal Code, to “those who in any way offend modesty or good customs with acts of serious scandal or transcendence.” Therefore, if it is declared a fault -and not a crime-, the first accusation, for repeated rape of a minor, would prescribeas this is from 2004 and more than 10 years have passed since the subsequent impeached accusation (2015).

During the oral trial, between the team of prosecutors from the Public Ministry, led by the Eastern regional prosecutor, Lorena Parra, and the defense team, led by the lawyer Paula Road, presented a total of 45 witnesses, among them, the actresses Loreto Aravena, Ignacia Allamand, Paz Bascuñán (who have declared in favor of López). Josefina Montane and the wardrobe assistant Alba Giner, meanwhile, have testified against the filmmaker and are part of the complainants who accused him in the Saturday Magazine.

Also testified were the ex-entertainer Viviana Nunes, the actor’s son Bastián Bodenhöfer (Damián) -as a witness to one of the reported events- and the producer Gabriela Sobarzo, former co-worker of Lópezwho gave an account of the “course walk” environment that was experienced in the filming, where, according to her, jokes that bordered on bullying were allowed, and referred to the relationship between friends of the accused and one of the complainants.

He also testified the first girlfriend of the film director: Amparo Baezareferring to him as a respectful person, “tender”, “not at all violent” and who did not use drugs.

Then came the turn of the Brazilian actress Mirella Granucci, who explained the close treatment of one of the complainants with López. She also said that some time after arriving in Chile he invited her to a coffee and then to her house, where they drank alcohol. And that when he wanted to have sex with her, but she didn’t want to, he understood and didn’t insist.

In addition, they presented experts, such as the psychologist Cecilia Taborga, who evaluated the personality of López. In his report he concluded that the defendant does not have a personality disorder, nor characteristics consistent with a sexual aggressor. The foregoing, however, does not rule out the possibility of having committed sexual abuse, he acknowledged to the prosecution.

Along with this, a series of Documentary evidence, including screenshots of Instagram posts and chats; WhatsApp conversations between López and third parties (referring to the facts and recovered from 2,000 deleted chats on two of the defendant’s cell phones) and radio interviews. For example, one granted by the actress Leonor Varela, where she rules out a sexual assault by the accused and points out that she regrets having been part of the “lynching” of López.

Other interviews presented at the trial were those given by the authors of the report, in a university media outlet and on television.

In order to protect the integrity of the victims, the Judicial Power established three restrictions to access the information that would be disclosed in the trial: first, it determined that it would only transmit, through its respective channels, the opening, closing, verdict and sentence; He then reported that the interveners in the case could not deliver statements to the media and, finally, that the entrance of the press to the room would be limited to those parties without victims, only for taking notes and with the safeguard of delivering information in terms generals.

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The keys to the trial against the filmmaker Nicolás López – La Tercera