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'Hit-and-run' politician smacked with mic

Alex Dunham · 22 Sep 2014, 16:56

Published: 22 Sep 2014 16:56 GMT+02:00

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A swarm of journalists surrounded the 62-year-old former president of Madrid as she walked up the steps of a criminal court in the Spanish capital on Monday.

As the questions flew her way so did the microphones, one of them held by a  reporter of short-stature actually hitting Aguirre on the temple as he struggled to see what he was doing.

Her contorted face was caught by a photographer’s camera at the moment of impact.

The image has been widely shared on Twitter and Facebook since the incident, with a number of comical memes making it go even more viral.

Cadena SER, the radio station whose microphone can be seen hitting Aguirre in the face, has sent out a half-hearted apology via Twitter which reads: “We’d like to apologize to Esperanza Aguirre for sticking a mic in her eye.  It was an accident, it won’t happen again ;).”

This subtly mocking tone reflects the sentiment of many Spaniards who are glad to see an influential political figure go before a judge for an incident they believe ordinary citizens would probably be tried for.

In April of 2014, Aguirre parked her car in a bus lane on the capital’s busy Gran Vía, to withdraw money from an ATM.

Traffic police stopped her moments after, but she refused to pull her Toyota Verso to one side after they had issued the fine.

She then fled the scene, knocking over a motorbike and refusing to speak to police who tailed her all the way to her home in the Madrid neighbourhood of Malasaña. 

It was dramatic material, but there was insufficient evidence to charge the politician, Madrid's chief prosecutor Manuel Moix said in September. 

However, Madrid's courts then decided to investigate whether a crime had been committed after an appeal by Spain's Justice and Transparency group.

That group argued that "any other normal citizen would have ended up in a holding cell with handcuffs on his or her wrists" facing a day in court. 

After her first day of testifying on Monday and the ‘mic’ incident that preceded it, Aguirre told journalists she had said “absolutely everything that had happened that fateful day” to the judge.

If found guilty, Aguirre could face a sentence of up to 12 months in prison, although she is unlikely to serve time as most Spanish sentences under two years do not involve jail time if the person sentenced has no criminal record.

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Alex Dunham (alex.dunham@thelocal.com)

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