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Former Social Democratic Party (PSD) leader Liviu Dragnea told the judges of the Supreme Court on Tuesday that he has spent eight months in the Rahova Penitentiary while being "completely innocent" and asked them to annul the sentence by which he was convicted to 3 years and 6 months of imprisonment in the case of the fictitious hiring at the Teleorman Social Assistance and Child Protection Directorate General (DGASPC).

Dragnea was brought on Tuesday morning from the Rahova Penitentiary to the headquarters of the High Court of Cassation and Justice, where an extraordinary appeal against the conviction decision introduced by the former PSD leader was judged.

In the courtroom, Dragnea stated that he was innocent and asked to be acquitted.

"I would like to mention to two things. First, a lie - the DNA [the National Anticorruption Department] statement that I knew Adriana Botorogeanu and Anisa Stoica, that they were working at the DGASPC, but they were actually coming to the party, a lie like many others used by DNA. (...) I strongly believe that I am completely innocent and I have spent eight months in the Rahova penitentiary while being innocent. That is why I did not pay the damage, because I didn't think it was normal to pay for a deed that I did not commit. It remains at your discretion whether I will remain innocent in prison or you order my release," Dragnea told the magistrates.

Liviu Dragnea's lawyer, Flavia Teodosiu, explained that the deed the former PSD leader is accused of is not stipulated by the criminal law, referring to provisions of the Labor Code, with reference to how the Floarea Alesu should have penalised the two employees at DGASPC Teleorman.

The court decision on the appeal filed by Dragnea is pending.

The High Court of Cassation and Justice on 27 May 2019 sentenced Liviu Dragnea to three years and 6 months in prison for instigating to abuse of office in the case of the fictitious hiring at the Teleorman Social Assistance and Child Protection Directorate General (DGASPC).

The Supreme Court maintained in the case of then PSD leader Liviu Dragnea the sentence enforced by the court of first instance.

The conviction decision was made by four of the five members of the panel, one of the judges having a separate opinion, in the sense of referring the case to the first instance court for retrial, on the grounds that that panel from the first instance should have been specialized in corruption offenses.AGERPRES (RO - author: Eusebi Manolache, editor: Georgiana Tanasescu; EN - authors: Simona Iacob, Bogdan Gabaroi, editors: Maria Voican, Simona Iacob)

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