Nearly two decades after a judge acquitted Gloria Trevi of being part of a child sexual exploitation ring headed by producer Sergio Andrade, a new civil lawsuit has brought back that hell. A court in Los Angeles last December revived allegations that Andrade and Trevi recruited girls and teenagers for a sexual abuse ring. The lawsuit, to which EL PAÍS had access, accuses the producer of raping the girls and the singer and another woman of acting as accomplices and being the hook to recruit them.
Now it has been known that Camille Vasquez, lawyer who represented Johnny Depp in the defamation trial against Amber Heard, will be in charge of defending the Mexican diva. Vasquez has pointed out that Trevi was also a victim during the 17 years in which he was under Andrade's control and that the producer is "the real monster" of this story. "This case represents an unwarranted attack on a victim of sustained sexual, mental and physical abuse," reads a brief that the attorney and the firm for which she works, the law firm Brown Rudnick, have filed with the California court to dismiss the lawsuit.
The document notes that Gloria Trevi is "one of many young women who suffered years of cruelty and abuse in the 1980s and 1990s at the hands of one of the true monsters of this world, defendant Sergio Andrade, a man convicted of rape and other crimes in Mexico," and adds, "This case represents an unwarranted attack on a victim of sustained sexual, mental and physical abuse."
Vasquez in an interview with Newsweek magazine said he decided to accept the case of Gloria Trevi after learning her story. "I felt very convinced to represent her," said the lawyer. "She was imprisoned for almost five years, which was a violation of human rights, and exonerated of these horrific charges long ago. And yet, it can't seem to escape the cloud looming over it. It's important to me to be able to represent the people I believe in and whose stories need to be told." After the media trial of Johnny Depp, Vasquez has been recognized by the Hispanic Bar Association as the best lawyer under 40.
Sergio Andrade, Gloria Trevi and Maria Raquel Portillo in custody of the Brazilian Federal Police in Brasilia on December 5, 2000.EVARISTO SA (AFP)
In his eagerness to dismiss the case, he points out as something "regrettable" that the plaintiffs have chosen to focus on Trevi as the first defendant and not on Sergio Andrade, when it was the music producer who orchestrated the entire network of child abuse. "At trial, the truth will vindicate Ms. Trevi," says counsel.
The accusations against Gloria Trevi are not new. In 2004, a Mexican judge acquitted her without charge on the same charges, yet sentenced Andrade to prison for the crime of rape and child abuse. The producer spent a handful of years in jail and was later released. At that time, trafficking was not covered by the Penal Code, a crime that is now punishable by up to 40 years in prison. The new lawsuit in the United States could be filed thanks to the three-year window granted by the State of California so that people who have been victims of sexual abuse can claim, even if the cases have already expired. The complainants in this case, two Mexican women, have been able to denounce in the United States because they affirmed in their statement that much of the abuse they experienced occurred in California.
In the mid-nineties, Andrade was the most prestigious music producer in Mexico and Gloria Trevi a young promise when their paths crossed. She was 14 and he was 35. "For me he was King Midas," Trevi said recently in an interview on Spanish broadcaster Cuatro's Traveling with Chester. "When I met him I saw him with an admiration that he knew how to make me confuse with love. At that moment I felt that I was in love with that man. But it was a mirage that he manufactured before my eyes because, in reality, it was not how I idealized it," the singer said.
In the new lawsuit, the plaintiffs, two women identified as Jane Does (the generic name to protect their identities in the United States), claim that the singer approached them when they were 13 and 15 years old and lured them to join the alleged musical training program led by Andrade. Always, according to that version, Andrade's academy actually served as a cover for a sexual network of young girls who for years were exploited and raped by the producer. Among them, Gloria Trevi herself who lived that for almost two decades. "He wouldn't let me have contact with my family or any other man, but he made me look normal," she said in an interview.
Camille Vasquez will have much of the legal team she worked with to represent Johnny Depp, including partners Leo Presiado, Steve Cook, Ben Chew, Jessica Meyers and Sam Moniz. The first hearing is expected to take place on July 28 regarding a motion filed by Trevi's team to learn the identity of the two complainants. "The story must be told correctly," the lawyer told the US press.
For her part, Gloria Trevi has stated that she wishes to close this chapter once and for all. "It took me a long time to speak because I didn't want to get up feeling sorry. I wanted to get up for my job. However, I did feel that commitment to denounce and inspire women and men who are going through a situation of abuse to say enough, no more," he told this newspaper in 2019.
Subscribe hereto the newsletter of EL PAÍS Mexico and receive all the informative keys of the news of this country