Franklin Nieves’s Other Problem with Evidence

You'd think Franklin Nieves would've put together a little file with some irrefutable evidence of his allegations before he bolted. No such luck.


Surprising exactly no one, Diosdado Cabello has gone on the offensive, accusing Leopoldo López-case prosecutor Franklin Nieves of taking a large bribe in order to make up tall tales about having faked the evidence in that high-profile case. Other people he has claimed were witnesses to some of the shenanigans are now saying they’ve never met him.

The government’s denials and counter-allegations are wholly predictable, to the point that it’s impossible to imagine how Nieves might have failed to foresee them. So, of course, Nieves will have planned for this, right?

He’ll have some irrefutable proof close at hand that demonstrates clearly that he really was pressured into fabricating evidence against López, right? He is, after all, a prosecutor with two decades’ experience on the job: if anyone should be sensitive to the need for evidence it should be him, right?! RIGHT?!


To my knowledge, Franklin Nieves has produced nothing beyond his say-so to think his allegations are true. Not a document, not a recording, not a voice-mail message or an email or a corroborating anything at all. Nothing.

He has claimed to have evidence in a hard drive. And I do hope I’m proven wrong. But I just don’t believe him. If the last 16 years have taught me anything it’s to discount officials’ claims to currently possess evidence which they intend to show at some unspecifie future date. Think how often you’ve heard words to that effect, and how seldom such evidence ever turns up.

Guys, if Nieves had the goods, he would’ve showed them by now.

He hasn’t. Even though he must have realized that if there was ever to be a time when irrefutable corroboration would be needed, it would be this week. To me, what this means is obvious: he has nothing.

I find this both deeply enraging and entirely symptomatic of the caliber of the man. As it stands, Diosdado Cabello and Luisa Ortega can just claim he’s making this whole story about forged evidence up and it’s his word against theirs. As it stands, if I’m explaining this entire situation to a neutral and I’m pressed to present incontrovertible evidence that Nieves is telling the truth and Diosdado is lying, I can’t.

It’s maddening!

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  1. Well, there you have it, the inherent idiocy of regime’s goons strikes again.

    At least aponte^2 had the brains to copy several documents to back up his claims.

  2. “His entire job revolved around the collection and presentation of evidence”

    Well, thats the thing – his whole job was not revolving around anything like that. He may have experience in how to translate the big thugs mandates into bullshit kangaroo court stuff but not on interacting with actual evidence-based justice systems.

  3. Good points about that spineless rodent. In the USA you’re usually innocent until proven guilty. Nieves just wants to double his money: $800 Million on each side of the pond. Plus the Amazon book deals.. que la Virgen de Coromoto del Valle bendiga a los hijitos de Leoplodo y Lilian, yendo a la misma escuela que la pobre hija de ese demente criminal.

    “Surprising exactly no one, Diosdado Cabello..” That #1 Drug Lord in charge of whatever’s left of Cleptozuela may not be surprising too many pueblo-people, but he sure sounds convincing for about 6 Million enchufado Madurista leeches, no less, 20% of our Bravo Pueblo, plus about 60% of a zombie horde we call ” socialistas” who still truly adore Chabestia. Facts are facts. Can’t wait to see the 48/52% result of December 7, after a somewhat enhanced, predictable late-innings Smartmatic final adjustments,

  4. Wait a minute. Hold the presses. Prosecutor Nieves has been very clear on this matter. He has stated quite clearly that the goods are on his flash drive. Do we dare hope for documentary proof in the near future? I, for one, will not be holding my breath.

    • When I hear a Venezuelan official promise to present evidence currently in his possession at some unspecified time in the future, I reach for my wallet…

  5. Supposedly, he cleaned out the safe before he left, taking with him all the files and some pen drives with data from the LL case. However, so far, we have not seen any of it. It is possible that he turned over everything to the FBI as part of his plea for asylum. If so, they would spend weeks analyzing it before making public. Or, maybe he is planning to release the evidence in bits and pieces to keep the case alive in the news for as long as possible.

    • Exactly this, according to runrunes he took 80% of the whole file including written notes with instructions from Luisa Ortega to the CIA, just as we don’t know the real list of sanctions and sanctioned from the US government, these are not public matters. The real question would be why nobody asks him about proof.

    • Ok, so assuming Franklin Nieves wasn’t the one who said he had the files here is the scenario…

      Nieves is running scared. He has made phone calls to arrange a quick transfer in Aruba. These may have been monitored. He doesn’t know if SEBIN knows what he is up to or not. He considers taking the evidence, but is worried that if he is searched at the airport, it could put him and his whole family in danger. So, he leaves the evidence, counting on being able to rely on only his testimony.

      As soon as his office realizes what he has done, they check the safe. Everything is there, but they can’t leave that kind evidence that might corroborate Nieves’s story in existence. So, they take the relevant data and destroy it. But, they still have to discredit Nieves. So, they leak the information to Bocaranda that Nieves fled with the proof. Now, everyone thinks he actually has it. Then when he is called upon to produce the evidence, he can’t, thus discrediting his story.

  6. Anyway, the contention that the Feds are somehow barring him from presenting evidence is simply incoherent: he’s talking to the press.

    His testimony is evidence: it’s just weak, uncorroborated, unconvincing evidence. So is the idea here that some FBI agent sat him down and said “go ahead, give some evidence to the press, but be sure to use only your least conclusive, weakest, thinnest gruel”?!??!

    I’m not a lawyer, but that sounds nuts to me.

    • Well, I`m sure the Feds give a damn about the opinion of las Doñas del Doral. And they would, Quico, they would tell him “you can’t talk about this and that and any real sensitive information.” It actually makes sense that his comments to the press are so weak. En fin, especular es divertido.

    • I agree with you but at the same time he could be accused of been a human rights violator, right? He confessed to be guilty, would you go to the US without anything in your hands???
      Who is paying for his US “vacations”? Been in mayami is not cheap for a fiscal del ministerio publico unless you got money from other sources that will be investigated once you made yourself public like this.
      I think he has more than he claims but I agree with you, this smells fishy

    • We can only hope he comes up with something.

      Otherwise, it’s a key figure in what the world already knew to be a farcical kangaroo court essentially saying “I’m the prosecutor that took part in this farcical kangaroo court that you all just saw. And guess what? It really was a farcical kangaroo court.”

      That’s not entirely nothing.

    • Tienes razon. His dealings with the feds will be through his attorney. I don’t know who that is but that’s an indicator as there are attorneys close to the feds but this guy is broke so lets see. What I do know is that there are others seeking asylum with USG and they will have to provde the goods to obtain asylum. FN will get his asylum. Keep in mind that USG will be hands off with this guy… they dont want to give the appearance of coordination or anything for the matter.

  7. Whenever promises are made from Venezuelans, especially those who work for the government, the thing to do is to get it in writing. I just don’t believe Nieves when he says he will release evidence soon.
    I hope he proves me wrong, but for the time being, I’ve downgraded him from POS to scum of the earth. If he doesn’t prove me wrong, I hope he’s shipped back to Diosdado’s doorstep with a bow on his head.

  8. Someone help me out here… Was it Nieves himself that said he has the files and the pen drives? I know that this was reported by Nelson Bocaranda in Run Runes, and it was corroborated by someone in the Government. If it was actually Nieves who said this, it would have been in the interview he gave to Rincon on CNN en Español. I watched that interview, but I don’t recall if he actually said that he took the files.

  9. If you look at the whole socialismo fandango, virtually everything is made up, fabricated out of nothing, meaning nothing and having no foundation in truth at all. Franklin Nieves almost certainly has no irrefutable evidence of anything, any more than Maduro had anything viable on LL. How long was Nieves a total stooge and unscrupulous lackey for a bullshit regime? Now all of a sudden he’s on the level and dead honest? The man has nothing whatsoever to recommend him as reliable or straightforward. Whatever is coming out of his mouth is almost certainly basura – we know, because his lips are moving.


  10. There is no standard of proof high enough to satisfy those who would continue to believe that the trial, charges and conviction were legitimate, nor is there any form of proof reliable enough.

    Me, if I was the prosecutor of Leopoldo Lopez fleeing Venezuela, I’d travel light.

  11. Hasn’t this been the case for all of the alleged “dissidents” that have gone abroad in order to sling accusations of bribery, crimes and manipulation of justice? Have any of them produced any actual evidence that can be used in court?

    I, as an opposition person, believe that everything Nieves says is probably true, but lack of any evidence at all? I just can’t completely disregard this as some opportunistic maneuver by somebody who fell out of favor with the regime.

    • Things are proven in court chiefly through the testimony of witnesses. Its a little scary to think about when you consider what the stakes can be, but that’s still the best way we’ve got.

  12. Witnesses are an important source of evidence (although documentary evidence is also very important); however, just one witness without any corroboration is not at all persuasive.

    • I guess he’s a little like the proverbial jail-house informant. Not ideal. The guy sitting in Ramo Verde can provide some compelling corroborating evidence though.

      Where I am stuck is that I just can’t imagine a trial where there is a defendant of any significance present. Things are so bad and so divided that I can’t imagine when and where that trial would realistically take place. Without that, the only the “trial” that matters is in the Venezuelan media, and we know how that goes.

  13. Asking for forgiveness and accepting the forgiveness as the Lopez family has expressed is a very good FIRST step. But in the most Catholic way, justice demands penance and restitution.

    He now has to do something big, I mean really big, and as I have suggested a couple of times during the week drop something JUICY in some news outlet, like Caracas Chronicles, or pull a martyr stunt like going back to Venezuela with Fernando del Rincon in tow to lodge a complaint with el defensor del pueblo.

    Atonement… its only biblical 🙂

    • Gotta love the “Catholic way” Papa Pancho Che Guevara just blessed and entertained the Castro Genocidal assassins, destroying Cuba for over 50 years, without even saying hi to Las Damas de Blanco or any balseros dying at sea every day for decades. Forgiveness and dumb, fake religions are they key, wherever you look around in the world, The Vatican is perhaphs the only country almost as putrid and corrupt as Vzla, but who cares. Pedophiles, rich Cardinals everywhere, it’s all cool, huh, in the name of Chavez or Jesusito or Mohamed,

      Let’s forgive everyone for their atrocities, set no legal precedents, no Justice, while Lilian’s kids countless others continue to be squashed by the disguised dictatorship. Perdonen a Cabelllo y a Luisa Ortega tambien, and Hitler too, while you’re at it.

      • I think you misunderstand how forgiveness works. It is certainly not forgetting.

        By forgiving, the Lopez family relinquishes their rightful restitution, but Mr. Nieves still has a debt to pay. Short of this, it is all empty.

        For a good example of forgiveness and atonement I would refer you to the movie “The Mission” where Robert DeNiro murders his brothers and then lugs his weapons through the Paraguayan jungle and joins the Jesuits in their Guarani missions.

        According to Christianity, everything can be forgiven, but restitution is still owed either in this world or in the next.

        • The problem here, ironically, is lack of evidence for what you are saying. It’s based on your particular religious faith. 6 Billion people have other ideas about Spirituality or “how forgiveness works”.

          In Singapore, we have Laws, for all religions, and they’re working pretty darn well.

          • You miss the point.

            I am showing that forgiveness as presented this week between Nieves and the Lopez family is wanting even in a Catholic understanding.

            It’s particularly appropriate given the Lopez family is publicly Catholic.

            Debating the the merit of forgiveness as explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Chuch section 1459 is beyond the scope of this discussion:

            “Many sins wrong our neighbor. One must do what is possible in order to repair the harm (e.g., return stolen goods, restore the reputation of someone slandered, pay compensation for injuries). Simple justice requires as much.”

          • Look, it’s fine and dandy to “forgive” a guy who stole from you. It’s another thing to “forgive” some filthy rat who has been a prosecutor for an entire, despicable career, destroying people’s lives for money. Over and over and over. I don’t believe that Leopoldo, Lilian or their kids will truly ever “forgive” Nieves or Luisa Ortega. Can you blame them?

            The other part you don’t comprehend if the separation of Church and State. It’s supposed to be there for many reasons, much like separation of powers, check&balances, etc. You see, dudes like Benjamin Franklin were not too stupid or too religious.

  14. Meanwhile, Kleptozuela is oppressed by Cabello and his bus driving Thugs, and Lilian’s kids don’t get to see their dad: too honest and too Harvard educated to be elected president by the alfabrutisada and vastly corrupt population. Meanwhile, Capriles y el tontorron “projesol de economia” JoseMUDGuerra seem to be having fun out there though, hablando paja macro-economica populachera.

    • Con todo el debido respeto a la minoria de gente inteligente, realmente educada, es obvio que los venezolanos si somos bastante pendejos. Por no decir super brutos e ignorantes. Existen amplias pruebas de ello, sobran evidencias, El 7 de diciembre seran todavias mas.

  15. renacuajo67 said: “He now has to do something big, I mean really big, and as I have suggested a couple of times during the week drop something JUICY in some news outlet, like Caracas Chronicles.”

    Come to think of it, there’s no way someone of Nieves’ position wouldn’t have some very serious mud to sling that could in some way be corroborated by third-party sources. He’s really got to drop an A-bomb, something that totally exposes someone of some shenanigan that just blows the whole damn thing wide open. He HAS to know something terribly dirty given the corruption and forked-tongue bullshit that we’ve seen these last 14 years.


  16. Funny people. They believe in the most absurd things (like Chávez prior to his ’98 election, even a good while after it) without questioning. Then they get sucked into group suspicion (sospechas por equipo), create these all-or-nothing postulations, and decide that that makes better copy for their blog.

    No sé, digo yo.

    I tend to believe Franklin Nieves. Though I must say, he’s rather evasive on the pendrives he has in his luggage. See (see as of minute 5:24).

    Surrounding the credibility factor are these segments, as of 8:04, 16:37, 18:20: , by far more incisive than what I read in the post above, no offense.

  17. So either he is lying now and he was honest before, or he was lying then and is honest now

    In any case he is a lier, common sense dictates that any decent tribunal would at least grant an automatic retrial (if not release) in response to the defence’s appeal.

    He doesn’t need evidence to tarnish the trial, evidence would be needed in the future to bring his superiors to justice tho.

  18. There’ve been a few other interviews and serious opinions since Conclusiones. It might be wise to listen to/read them, as opposed to paying attention to the sospecha de grupo that gives rise to doubting Thomases.

    I began sharing links to these interviews, a few minutes ago, but it seems that the Asian-based server for this site doesn’t easily accept (more than one) shortened URLs in one comment.

    I’ll try again.

    For one, here’s a great example of the type of serious journalism that I respect:

  19. Here’s another interview — in four parts. It is lighter weight than the one by Tamoa Calzadilla. But it ferrets other detail, including questions of credibility/paper trails. See segment 03, as of minute 5:24:

  20. Where things get a little sticky for me was when Carla Angola asked Franklin Nieves for some sort of comprobante, and FN replies (somewhat evasively, it seemed to me) that he has his pen drives somewhere in his baggage. I would have thought that these pen drives would be, for him, the Holy Grail, and by now would have landed in some very safe hands.Then again, he does feel safe now, while he and his family are still processing the huge confusion that entails permanently leaving one’s country in stress mode.

    Whether or not he’s telling the whole truth, FN has a superb command of facts, names and logic. I was also impressed by his ability to refute the gossip that surrounded a take from a video clip showing FN delivering LL’s sentence. The gossip said that the image was taken by the LL’s father. But as FN explained, the view of his left side could only have been taken by the court’s assistant, in such and such a position, whereas LL’s father would have been at FN’s backside.

    In sum, I tend to believe FN, but want more information — and it will come — before making a value judgement, as have others for whatever reason …

  21. “So either he is lying now and he was honest before, or he was lying then and is honest now.”

    The dirtbag has never been honest, or will ever be. Much like about 6 Million Maduristas today.
    These are simply ignorant, corrupt rats without a soul, If they had one, it would be for sale, and in bolivars.

    Might as well have a laugh..

    Juan Andrés “chichón de piso” Wallis, Armando “pelón” Capriles, Luis Carmona “el diputado que nació en la cárcel”..

  22. Nieves is a lawyer not a journalist , for lawyers evidence is not something you just transform into splashy news , its something you arrange carefully and show at your best time and convenience when the time is appropiate and only to those which can help you in your plans.

    Long term lawyer axiom, dont volunteer information because if you say too much it can be turned against you , so you only show enough information initially to whet peoples interest and not more .

    Of course his testimony is evidence in itself , having a documentary support is desirable but not always necessary , usually evidence comes in fussy form which requires sifting and preparation before its divulged . such sifting and preparation takes time . In an ordinary court case a year or more .

    His is an unsavory past , but sometimes its people like him that can offer the best evidence , In the US it is routine to persuade criminals with inducements to furnish evidence which allows the authorities to go for his partners in crime or for people higher in the criminal hierarchy. This is to us morally objectionable , but in the US they see it differently .

    At this stage we really dont know what evidence he brought with him , it will come out later , meantime the defection of this individual says a lot about how corroded in fear and distrust the inner circle of the regime is becoming .!!

      • Knowledge is power and you do not show your hand. That is between him and his attorney and whoever is footing his bills. However, FN has no actionable intelligence for USG prosecutors probing RICO and narcotics.

      • the only thing actionable this guy would have would be along the vein of the sanctions Obama applied for human rights abuses meaning Luis Diaz could find herself sanctioned as Tom Shannon alluded yesterday. To go higher up the chain of command and sanction/indict Godgiven or Nick is tantamount to act of war for them. General Kelly was correct in his comments about possible US military intervention in Venezuela on humanitarian grounds as humanitarian crisis unfolds. The half billion dollar deal for Sukhois is desperate attempt to scrape the barrel clean… that deal will provide US$40M in commissions.

  23. “I don’t want to stay in the United States,” he said. “Once the situation in Venezuela changes, all of us will leave for Venezuela and help the country produce and move forward.”

    After an entire career of bribes, tigres and deception. 17 years of Chavismo, 250,000 people dead.

    But hey, some corrupt religions and most corrupt politicians dictate that we must forgive&forget.

    Sets a wonderful example for future MUDcrap generations as to what they can get away with.

  24. If you want to believe want Bocaranda says he supposedly took documents with him both physical and digital, which I’m sure whoever the agency he’s negotiating with already have secured.

  25. Francisco Toro doubts Nieves’s testimony and that is certainly his privilege. Time will tell.
    But Juan Nagel has jumped to the extreme when he suggests that Nieves’s is a “non story”. This is to say, his testimony has no value at all.
    Juan’s enthusiasm for Lovato’s piece in Foreign Policy now finds its balanced counterpart in his dismissal of Nieves’s assertions. Is there a bias? And if so, why?

    • I found that, too, about JN’s opinion(s) regarding LL, concluding that there are overtones of a political-party bias.

      Certainly LL has struck me in the past, a few years before his imprisonment, as too brash, too young, too entitled. But he has made strides over the past two years that make him a worthy contender, certainly a hell of a lot better than the rest of the oppo offerings.

      His father, too, added another dimension to the case, when he stated that his son was right to sacrifice himself (and follow Diodado’s false offer of protection against those who would kill him). Had that not happened, Franklin Nieves would not have such a celebrated case that eventually, through personal circumstances weighed too heavily on his conscience. And the putrid smell from this government’s justice system would have simply extended itself further.

      Capriles, meanwhile, is the real non-issue. In other words, he’s toast. I guess that all the earlier virgin-kissing ’round the country and waiting for God’s perfect time didn’t help his case.

      • To be fair, Leopoldo Lopez offering himself up like a lamb to stoke a protracted display of nauseating fascist overreach by the government is a bit much for anybody to compete with.

        I was never much a fan of Capriles, but in more boring times, Capriles would be an adequate enough politician.


    “Explicó que tiene en sus manos un pendrive con “pruebas” que se le entregará a las autoridades de EE UU y en el que se encuentra todo el expediente de Leopoldo López.”

    I have to assume he’s not lying. Because surely he’s smart enough to know that if he lied about a little thing like that, it would color the trustworthiness of everything else he’s saying.

    • Looks like he scanned the paper files. He cleaned out the safe so he scanned the files down there as he could not be caught leaving with them. The original files are stashed away and probably out of the country by now.


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