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A negotiation, concluded. The IT specialist Isaías Herrero, to whom Laura Borràs awarded - allegedly irregularly - the contracts worth more than 300,000 euros to update the website of the Institute of Catalan Letters (ILC), has negotiated with the public prosecutor for a reduced sentence in order to avoid prison, by confessing and testifying that he was following orders from the now-Junts politician and suspended parliamentary speaker, when she was director of the public cultural body, between the years 2013 and 2017, according to judicial sources. The prosecutor is demanding that both of them serve 6 years in prison and have a 21-year ban on holding public office for the crimes of document falsification and abuse of authority. Prosecutors will wait for Herrero to testify and, at the end of the trial, they could reduce their sentence demand so that he does not go to prison. Herrero would be the second defendant who has reached a deal with the prosecutor's office to incriminate Borràs. Roger Espar, an ILC employee, also asserted, in the Catalan High Court (TSJC) investigation of the case, that Borràs had ordered him to divide the contracts, and contributed some vital audios. The third defendant is Andreu Pujol, who allegedly signed a budget to cover up Herrero and for whom the prosecutor is asking for 3 years in prison and a 10 year ban from public employment; he has not come to any arrangement with the prosecution.

The trial against Borràs, Herrero and Pujol begins this Friday at the TSJC and has been scheduled in seven sessions. On Friday, the defence lawyers of the three defendants will raise preliminary questions, that is, previously unaccepted requests which, in their opinion, correct irregularities and the violation of rights. Borràs's defence, carried out by Gonzalo Boye and Isabel Elbal, will demand that the emails between Borràs and Herrerro, which incriminate them, and which they claim the Mossos police obtained without judicial authorization, be removed from the case. Meanwhile, the defence of Herrero, carried out by Marina Roig, and of Pujol, by Àlex Solà, will explain that the granting of an extension to the investigation was not carried out correctly. The court that will try them is made up of judge Jesús Maria Barrientos -president of the TSJC and judge-spokesperson in this case - along with  Fernando Lacaba and Maria Jesús Manzano.

After Friday's session, the trial will resume on February 20th with the defendants' statements, although they requested to give these at the end of the trial. On the 21st, 22nd and 23rd, witness will be heard; on February 27th, expert reports, and finally, on March 1st, the final reports, when the prosecutors may - may not - vary the punishment they demand.

Herrero's second conviction

The public prosecutors would like the entire trial to be held with Herrero present and for him to detail the accusations against Borràs. Herrero was sentenced to 5 years' prison for drug trafficking, and the judge suspended his prison term in exchange for undergoing a detox treatment. The ILC case would be his second conviction, and prosecutors would have to demand a sentence of less than 2 years' jail in order for him to avoid ending up behind bars. In addition, when he agreed to begin serving the first sentence, the investigation of the Institute was not final.

The 18 contracts

In particular, the public prosecutors accuse Borràs of having awarded 18 minor contracts without competition (by executive fiat), adding up to more than 309,000 euros, related to the programming and maintenance of the Institute's web portal, to her friend Isaías Herrero. The official of the Institution Roger Espar, who declared that he acted under the orders of Borràs, is, in the end, not accused, and will testify as a witness.

In the final indictment, the prosecutors withdrew the accusation of misuse of public funds for which the suspended speaker of the Catalan Parliament was initially investigated, a change that Borràs interpreted, once again, as "their case is not about corruption", but rather, is one of political persecution, despite the fact that ERC and the CUP have once again turned their backs on her and do not support her. Borràs has accuses the parties of violating her presumption of innocence.