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Spain's state legal service is finalising a report aimed at defending Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena's handling of the investigation into the Catalan independence movement. The report is for a Belgian court as part of a civil lawsuit he's facing in that country.

Legal sources have told Europa Press that it's a question of "defending the Spanish judiciary and not so much a specific civil servant". They add that the study tries to anticipate all possible scenarios, including turning to the Court of Justice of the EU.

The Spanish state's intervention in the matter follows the protection granted by the General Council of the Judiciary to the Supreme Court judge. Specifically, the council requested action from the justice and foreign affairs ministries, through the state's legal service, "to guarantee the integrity and immunity of Spanish judiciary before the courts of the Kingdom of Belgium".

Within days, the justice department formally announced that any intervention by the state's legal service before any court in a foreign country has to take place through a local lawyer hired for the purpose, a step still outstanding in this case.

The state to cover legal costs

Llarena asked the General Council of the Judiciary for protection towards a civil lawsuit presented in June by Puigdemont and some of his ministers in exile, accusing him of a lack of impartiality and violating the presumption of innocence. The lawsuit was accepted for consideration and a judge has summonsed Llarena to court on 4th September.

The council was reacting to what it sees as a "planned attack on the conditions of independence in which he carries out his legal work". The protection it wanted to offer extends to financial measures. The Spanish state will take on any financial penalty (the lawsuit claims a symbolic euro in damages) and any costs stemming from a potential sentence.