July 21st, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) A three-judge panel acquitted businessman and prominent hotelier, Alberto Rodriguez Baldi on criminal defamation charges and threw out a civil case against the man brought by former President of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla.
The ruling was handed down shortly after 9 a.m. this morning.
Chinchilla’s legal team had sought 60 days in jail and more than ¢100 million in compensation from Baldi.
In the unanimous ruling, judges said that citizens’ right to free expression must remain unfettered and public officials must tolerate broader discourse and criticism, adding that they hoped the case would set a precedent for similar cases in the future.
Chinchilla filed charges against Baldi in June 2013, just days after Baldi published a post on Facebook that stated that Chinchilla purchased land worth millions of dollars in Nicoya, Guanacaste.
Baldi, who is in the hotel business in La Fortuna de San Carlos, also stated that Chinchilla has business interests in wind energy.
The former president said that both accusations are untrue and denied any allegations of corruption or mismanagement of public funds on her part during her time in office.