Josh Holt to stand trial, family devastated. Attorney says he's a political pawn
25-year-old Josh Holt of Utah was ordered to stand trial in Venezuela on a weapons charge that his family and his attorney say is bogus.
His mother, Laurie Holt, said the news was devastating and made her feel ill. She’s lost hope her son will come home safe and sound.
“What’s going to happen is he’s going to come home and he’s not going to be alive. That’s how we’re going to get him home,” she said in a telephone conversation.
Holt was weeping and said her son’s deteriorating health won’t improve given that getting to trial could take months.
On Monday, in a recording made public, Josh Holt said he was sick.
Carlos Trujillo, attorney for the Holt family in Utah, said given the political turmoil in Venezuela, and all the delays in Holt’s case so far, there is no reason to believe the trial date will be set soon. A judge has not been assigned to the trial either.
“It’s just a vendetta. A way to get back to the U.S. Government,” he said.
Trujillo said there is strong reason to suspect that Josh Holt is being held in prison because two nephews of President Nicolas Maduro are imprisoned in the U.S. after they were convicted of drug-trafficking charges. The Nephews have been in jail in the U.S. since 2015.
“They could see him (Holt) as a way to influence the trial of the nephews,” said Trujillo.
Generally, the situation is difficult anyway because the relationship between the U.S. and the Maduro government is not good.
Josh Holt went to Venezuela in 2016 to marry a woman he met on the internet.
His wife Tammy, is also in prison in Venezuela.
Trujillo said efforts are being made by members of Congress, specifically Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, to secure the release of Holt. He said the effort requires the help of the State Department and the White House.
In the meantime, this is devastating news for the loved ones of Josh Holt.
“They had hopes of having Christmas together as a family and that got shattered today. Now we are kind of starting over,” he said.