Mexico judge orders corruption trial for ex-Gov. Duarte

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APTOPIX Guatemala Mexico Corruption_640315

Mexico’s ex-governor of Veracruz state, Javier Duarte, is escorted in handcuffs by police to an aircraft as he is extradited to Mexico City, at an Air Force base in Guatemala City, Monday, July 17, 2017. Duarte faces charges of embezzlement and ties to organized crime in his home country. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican prosecutors say an ex-governor accused of corruption and other crimes has been ordered to stand trial.

The Attorney General’s Office said late Saturday that a judge ruled that Javier Duarte be tried on charges of organized crime and money laundering. He also faces other state charges.

Duarte fled to Guatemala after resigning as governor of the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, one of Mexico’s most populous, amid mounting allegations of corruption. He was extradited to Mexico last week.

Prosecutors allege that Duarte embezzled millions and used much of the money to buy properties. He and his lawyers have called the charges baseless and politically motivated.

The case is sensitive for Mexico’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, which is trying to clean up its image ahead of next year’s presidential vote.

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