Op Dinsdag, Hernández entered the New York courtroom wearing a navy blue jail outfit and nodded toward those in attendance, including journalists and members of the public. On the way out several members of the public shouted at him, “murderer,” “time to repent JOH,” en “rat.”
Hernández was listening via an interpreter. When asked how he would plea, he responded in Spanish “not guilty, your honor.”
The former Honduran leader left office in January, having served eight years as president.
At the time of his extradition, the US Justice Department also unsealed an indictment alleging Hernández engaged in a conspiracy to protect and profit off smugglers moving cocaine from Central and South America into the United States.
Hernández’s brother, Tony Hernández, is currently serving a life sentence in a US federal prison for drug trafficking.
According to court filings in that case, US authorities believe Hernández was a co-conspirator in the operation, funneling drug money to help fund his presidential campaigns. Hernández has repeatedly denied those allegations.
The next hearing for Hernández is scheduled to take place on September 28. Castel said he hopes to impanel a jury by early next year and set a tentative January 17, 2023 date for beginning of trial.