Puerto Rico justice secretary steps down amid criminal probe

November 27, 2018 GMT

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico’s justice secretary has temporarily stepped down as she faces a criminal investigation following accusations that she violated an ethics law.

Wanda Vazquez said in a statement Tuesday that she was told the Office of the Special Independent Prosecutor plans to file criminal charges against her. The charges will be made public during a Dec. 7 hearing.

Vazquez said she is innocent and that the allegations are a smear campaign aimed at destabilizing ongoing investigations that she is overseeing.

Vazquez said she asked Gov. Ricardo Rossello to temporarily relieve her of her duties. Rossello said he appointed prosecutor Olga Castellon as interim justice secretary.

No further details were immediately available.