Diego Maradona’s personal doctor on Monday denied through his lawyer any responsibility for the death of the football icon, in which he and six other medical staff are under investigation for manslaughter.
Neurosurgeon Leopoldo Luque, 39, appeared before prosecutors in Buenos Aires to respond to allegations that he and other caregivers neglected Maradona in his final days, precipitating his death.
Luque “will explain that he was not responsible for (Maradona) home care” as he recovered from brain surgery for a blood clot, the doctor’s lawyer Julio Rivas said on the hearing guidelines Monday.
Maradona, 60, was found dead in bed last November, two weeks after the operation, in a rented house in an upscale neighborhood in Buenos Aires where he was taken after being released from hospital.
It was discovered that he had died of a heart attack.
“I don’t see any responsibility in either Agustina or Leo” for Maradona’s death, Rivas said of Luque and co-accused psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov, 36.
Other members of the team have said the duo are responsible for the care of the retired footballer.
Luque’s interrogation concludes a two-week interrogation process. He and the other six appeared one by one to defend themselves against the charges.
A judge will then decide whether to order a trial, in a process that could take years. Suspects face between eight and 25 years in prison if found guilty.
An investigation was opened following a complaint filed by two of Maradona’s five children against Luque, whom they accuse of their father’s deterioration after the operation.
A panel of 20 medical experts convened by Argentina’s public prosecutor said last month that Maradona’s treatment was riddled with “shortcomings and irregularities.”
The panel concluded that he “would have had a better chance of survival” with adequate treatment in an appropriate medical facility.
The board found that the team had provided inadequate care and left the idolized player to his fate for a “prolonged and agonizing period”.
Luque, who described the sports legend as a friend, arrived at the prosecutor’s office in San Isidro, Buenos Aires, in a dark suit, tie and dark glasses an hour before his hearing began on Monday.
He made no statement to the waiting reporters.
Judicial sources told AFP that his lawyers had handed over a document to prosecutors before the hearing, which is expected to last several hours.
He doesn’t have to answer questions, but Rivas said on Monday he would.
‘I did my best’
Luque has repeatedly denied his guilt and recently said, “I am proud of what I did” to help the patient, denying that he had given up on him.
“I did my best. I gave Diego everything I could: some things he accepted, some things he didn’t,” he said in a recent interview.
The doctor said Maradona had been depressed in her last days.
“I know the quarantine (coronavirus) hit him really hard,” Luque said.
Maradona appeared in public on October 30 last year at an event marking her 60th birthday, visibly weakened and appearing to have difficulty speaking and walking.
Duque ordered his hospitalization, that’s when the blood clot was discovered.
Released from hospital after surgery, Maradona was confined to home care, but some of her medical team told prosecutors the home was lacking in medical equipment.
Last week, a lawyer for co-accused nurse Dahiana Madrid, 36, said the heads of the medical team had “killed Diego”.
“In the end, there were many warning signs that Maradona was going to die, one day or another. And none of the doctors did anything to prevent it,” lawyer Rodolfo said at the time. Baque.
The other four suspects are nurse Ricardo Almiron, 37; nursing coordinator Mariano Perroni, 40 years old; medical coordinator Nancy Forlini, 52 years old; and psychologist Carlos Diaz, 29.
All have denied any responsibility.
Maradona had struggled with cocaine and alcohol addictions for years.
The former Boca Juniors, Barcelona and Napoli star suffered from liver, kidney and cardiovascular problems when he died.
Maradona became an idol to millions of Argentines after inspiring the South American country to just its second World Cup triumph in 1986.