Maradona’s night assistant, Ricardo Almiron, 37, arrived shortly after noon (3:00 p.m. GMT) with his lawyer at the San Isidro prosecutor’s office, on the outskirts of the capital Buenos Aires.
Almiron is one of seven people under investigation for manslaughter after an expert panel examining Maradona’s death found he received inadequate care and was abandoned in his fate for a “prolonged and agonizing period”.
The seven people interviewed were members of the Maradona medical team.
A medical examination board of 20 doctors said in May that the accused acted “inappropriately, wantonly and recklessly” and for “criminal purposes”, saying Maradona was not properly supervised before his death.
Maradona, the revered former Boca Juniors and Napoli star who suffered from alcoholism and drug addiction for many years, died on November 25 last year of heart failure, after undergoing brain surgery in Beginning of the month.
Almiron is suspected of lying when he claimed the World Cup-winning captain was sleeping and breathing normally hours before his death. An autopsy revealed that Maradona was dying at the time, but had not drunk alcohol or used illegal substances in the days leading up to her death.
Speaking to reporters after the interview, Chiarelli said Almiron “always treated Maradona like a patient with a complex psychiatric condition” but was never made aware of a “problem with heart disease” .
“His superiors told him not to disturb the patient. My client had the wisdom to carry out his tasks without the patient feeling encroached upon, which he had to deal with the entire time he was there, ”added Chiarelli.
The investigation was opened following a complaint filed by two of Maradona’s five children against neurosurgeon Leopoldo Luque, whom they accuse of their father’s deteriorating condition after the operation.
Questions will be asked in the coming days to the psychiatrist from Maradona, Agustina Cosachov, 35; psychologist Carlos Diaz, 29; nurse Dahiana Madrid, 36 years old; nursing coordinator Mariano Perroni, 40, and medical coordinator Nancy Forlini, 52.
The hearings, postponed from last month due to a spike in coronavirus cases in Argentina, will end with Luque, the 39-year-old neurosurgeon, on June 28.
Defendants do not have the right to leave Argentina while a judge decides whether the case should go to trial. The process can take months or years. If found guilty, all seven could face between eight and 25 years in prison.
Luque has repeatedly defended his actions, saying he did “his best” to deal with Maradona, the AFP news agency reported.
The death of Maradona, a world-revered soccer star who was particularly beloved in his native Argentina for leading the national team to their second World Cup triumph in 1986, devastated the South American nation.
Tens of thousands of people lined up to parade past his coffin, draped in the Argentinian flag, at the presidential palace in Buenos Aires amid three days of national mourning last year.
He is widely regarded as one of the greatest soccer players in the world. An Argentinian wrote “God is with God” when Maradona died.
The day after his death, Argentinian mourning Wilson Cisnero told Al Jazeera that “Argentina is Maradona”.
But his fame is not limited to Argentina. Maradona played for Barcelona in the early 1980s and for Italian club Napoli, which won their first Italian titles with the Argentine by their side.
The Indian state of Kerala has also declared two days of official mourning for the superstar following his death. Maradona was worshiped there and the shrimp shells he ate on a visit in 2012 were freeze-dried and framed.
Ravindran Veleimbra, owner of the hotel where Maradona stayed during his visit, recalled the day the footballer entered the lobby. “Our god had entered. He was in front of us, ”Veleimbra told AFP in November 2020.