Police view CCTV footage crucial to Cassie's defense
POLICE have reportedly obtained CCTV footage of a mystery man that could help prove the innocence of accused Aussie drug smuggler Cassandra Sainsbury.
Colombian police have seized security vision showing Ms Sainsbury's only visitor during her eight day stay at a hotel in Bogota, believed to be a man Ms Sainsbury identified only as 'Angelo'. The manager at Ms Sainsbury's Bogota hotel, Ingrid Hernandez, told News Corp police had visited the premises to view and retrieve the footage.
Ms Hernandez has previously described the man as a well-dressed Colombian.
"Normal height, normal build. He could have been in his late 20s, 30s. He had short brown gelled hair," she said.
"She was alone most of the time in her room. I remember once she went and brought McDonalds back to eat."
The move is the first step in investigating the Adelaide woman's claims that she was tricked into carrying 5.8kg of cocaine in her luggage.
The 22-year-old was arrested a month ago with the drugs sealed in 18 packets of headphones she bought cheaply from a local man, intending to give as gifts for her upcoming wedding.
She remains in El Buen Pastor women's prison. A court date has still not been finalised.
Ms Sainsbury's Colombian lawyer Orlando Herran told Adelaide radio station last week the mystery figure could prove his client's innocence.
"Cassandra says that a person she knew only by one name, and that name was Angelo or Tom, had offered to get her these headphones at a very cheap price and he came to the airport and put them in the bag," host David Penberthy said, translating an earlier interview with the lawyer.
"I also believe her version of the events ... however it is here that we have a very grave problem.
"He says that the grave problem is that at this point, we do not have any proof that she really was tricked or that this other person that she refers to exists or is guilty."
No sign of the man has been seen since Ms Sainsbury's arrest.
"There is no evidence of his true identity," Mr Herran told Fairfax, describing the mystery figure as a "ghost."
"But there are criminals who specialise in tricking foreigners in this way."
Despite insisting he believes she did not commit the crime, Mr Herran said he was encouraging Ms Sainsbury to plead guilty in a bid to avoid a long prison sentence.
If she confesses and pleads guilty, she could serve a four-year jail term, but if she fights the charges it could take two years for the case to even come before the courts.
Ms Sainsbury could also face up to 20 years behind bars.
Ms Sainsbury's sister Khala and mother Lisa Evans yesterday set off from Adelaide airport to visit her for the first time since her arrest a month ago.
The family has reportedly signed an exclusive deal with Nine Network program 60 Minutes to sell her story for an unspecified sum, believed to be $1 million, after pleas for public donations on an online fundraising page and a request to the Australian government for taxpayer funds for legal help.