Aide says Argentine prosecutor didn't trust security detail

AP News
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Posted: Jan 28, 2015 5:49 PM
Aide says Argentine prosecutor didn't trust security detail

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — The man who gave prosecutor Alberto Nisman the pistol that killed him said Wednesday that Nisman feared for the safety of his daughters and didn't trust the policemen protecting him.

Diego Lagomarsino said at a news conference that Nisman borrowed the gun Jan. 17, the day before he was found dead with Lagomarsino's gun by his side. The prosecutor was scheduled to appear before congress the next day to detail his allegations that President Cristina Fernandez conspired to protect some of the Iranian suspects in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center.

Lagomarsino, a computer specialist and long-time acquaintance of Nisman, said he had asked Nisman why he wanted the gun. He said Nisman told him it was to protect his daughters.

Lagomarsino said he reminded the prosecutor that he had police protection, and Nisman responded: "I don't even trust my security detail."

Lagomarsino said he showed Nisman how to load and unload the pistol, and the prosecutor assured him he would not use it.

"In a few weeks, I'll give it back to you," he said Nisman told him.

A private wake was being held for Nisman at a funeral home Wednesday night, and the family planned the burial for Thursday.

Iran has repeatedly denied involvement in the Jewish center bombing, and Fernandez has also rejected Nisman's accusations of a cover-up, arguing that Argentina had nothing to gain from such a deal with the Middle Eastern country.

Prosecutors are trying to determine if Nisman committed suicide or was killed. Fernandez has suggested he could have been murdered and has urged prosecutors to investigate Lagomarsino, whom she described as a "fierce opponent of the government."

Lagomarsino has been charged with illegally transferring a firearm, but has never been named as a suspect in the killing. Viviana Fein, the lead investigator in the case, said Wednesday there was no indication that Lagomarsino was responsible.

Meanwhile, presidential spokesman Anibal Fernandez again focused on Lagomarsino, suggesting he had carried out "intelligence services" during protests in 2004 after a nightclub fire killed 194 people.

He said Lagomarsino was seen taking pictures of people, but did not say for which agency he might have been working.

During the news conference, Lagomarsino's lawyer rejected the allegations, saying Lagomarsino was not an agent but did enjoy taking photographs.

In a national address Monday night, and previously in two letters, Argentina's president suggested that rogue intelligence operatives were behind Nisman's death.