SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A Puerto Rico judge has issued search warrants for the cellphones of government officials tied to an online chat that has sparked a political crisis in the U.S. territory.
- Territorial Justice Department spokesman will not release names of officials
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Territorial Justice Department spokesman Kelvin Carrasco told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the warrants were approved overnight and were issued for those who have not yet turned over their phones.
He did not name the officials and declined further comment because the investigation is ongoing.
The warrants follow massive protests demanding the ouster of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, who participated in an offensive, obscenity-laden online chat between him and his advisers that was leaked and triggered the crisis. The group also insulted women and mocked constituents, including victims of Hurricane Maria.
The political crisis in Puerto Rico has escalated to a point where many wonder how Rosselló will be able to govern the U.S. territory in the coming days and possibly weeks amid the massive protests to oust him.
Rosselló dug his heels in late Monday after what seems to have been the biggest protest the island has seen in nearly two decades, telling Fox News that he has already apologized and made amends following the leak.
But Puerto Ricans remained unsatisfied and vowed to keep protesting until he steps down, no matter how long it takes.
“We can endure anything,” said Francisco Javier Díaz, a 30-year-old chemical engineer from the central mountain town of Corozal. “We have the power and the resilience. And the truth is, we’re fed up.”
Tuesday marked the 11th consecutive day of protests as government officials around Rosselló keep resigning. Even his own father, former governor Pedro Rosselló, stepped down from positions within their pro-statehood New Progressive Party and disaffiliated himself from it in a severe blow to party members.
Former Puerto Rico Senator Shares Thoughts on Crisis in Puerto Rico
Former Puerto Rico Sen. Miriam Ramirez de Ferrer shared her thoughts about what is happening in U.S. territory and what she thinks will happen to Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.