Joran van der Sloot pleads not guilty in Natalee Holloway extortion case

Joran van der Sloot, linked to missing American teenager Natalee Holloway in 2005, pleaded guilty Friday to extortion and fraud charges in court in Birmingham, Ala., after being temporarily extradited from Peru to the United States. .

Hugo L. When he appeared at the Black United States Court House, Mr. Van der Sloot spoke only to decline the services of a Dutch interpreter and acknowledge that he understood the charges against him.

He pleaded not guilty through his attorney, Kevin Butler, a federal public defender.

Before arriving in Alabama on Thursday afternoon, Mr. Van der Sloot, 35, was serving a prison sentence in Peru, where he pleaded guilty in 2010 to the murder of Stephanie Flores, a 21-year-old Peruvian student.

Last month, Peruvian authorities announced they were temporarily granting him extradition to ensure he “finally faces justice” in the United States.

“Peru was very instrumental in the process,” said George Seymour, a representative for Natalee’s mother, Beth Holloway. “They should not have allowed this process to go forward.”

At the time of his arrest in the Flores case, Mr. Van der Sloot was there Accused A federal grand jury in Alabama has indicted Ms. Holloway on charges of trying to extort money for information about how her daughter died and where her body was, so far not found.

He Accepted an initial payment of $25,000 Authorities said at the time that what he learned was false information in an FBI sting operation.

Natalee Holloway turned 18 on May 30, 2005, after a night in Aruba during an Alabama high school class trip. A judge declared him legally dead in 2012, but the unsolved case generated public interest for years.

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“Now, 18 years later, the wheels of justice are finally turning for our family and we are getting our long-awaited day in court,” Ms Holloway said in a statement. “With the criminal investigation completed, the trial of this criminal case has officially begun.”

Mr. Ms. Van der Sloot said Van der Sloot’s not-guilty plea “doesn’t bother us” and that she hopes federal prosecutors will secure a conviction. Holloway added.

Attorneys for the Holloway family expect the case to go to trial, but the timing is unclear.

“While today’s hearing represents a significant step forward, we must remember that the quest for justice is still a long way off,” Beth Holloway’s attorney, John Q. Kelly, said in a statement.

Mr. Van der Sloot was being held at the Shelby County Jail in Alabama as of Friday.

If he is convicted of extortion, he will first return to Peru, then return to the United States to serve a 28-year sentence for the strangled murder of Ms. Flores.

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