For more than a year, prosecutor Franklin Nieves argued before a federal judge in his native Venezuela that the country’s opposition leader, Leopoldo López, should be found guilty of inciting violence. In September the judge agreed, sentencing Mr. López to almost 14 years in prison in what most observers deemed a sham trial.
Now, Mr. Nieves, one of two lead prosecutors in the case, says he is sorry.
“Leopoldo López is innocent,” Mr. Nieves said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, his first since fleeing Venezuela late last week and releasing a video saying the proceedings were bogus. His about-face is causing a political uproar in Caracas and a thorny problem for the embattled administration of President Nicolás Maduro, the heir to the late populist Hugo Chávez.
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