Now headlining in courtrooms in San Antonio; Brasília, Brazil; and maybe, Chihuahua, Mexico: The sad-song sagas of two chart toppers with a broad following on both sides of the Texas border. Bailiff, call the first case.
The People v. Emilio Navaira
On January 9 the 37-year-old Grammy-nominated tejano star (below) was arrested at a San Antonio motel and charged with assault and resisting arrest — both misdemeanor offenses — following a domestic dispute involving his girlfriend, 23-year-old Maria Elena Ibarra. According to the police report, officers were called to the scene after the unhappy couple began arguing in the lobby. A tearful Ibarra explained that the trouble began in the motel room where they were staying when she told Navaira, with whom she’d been out at a bar earlier in the evening, that he “always gets mean when he drinks.” He responded, she said, by kicking her schnauzer and then, after she said she didn’t want to be with him, throwing a “large set of keys on a key ring” at her, striking her on the left shoulder. Ibarra told the officers that she became afraid because Navaira “usually beats her when he gets angry,” so she ran into an elevator. He followed, complaining that Ibarra was going to “ruin” his career, and they ended up in the lobby, at which point a bystander called 911. When the police arrived, Navaira denied having hit Ibarra, complained loudly about her not being a U.S. citizen (“She’s here illegally!”), and then proceeded to resist arrest, Officer Jose Limon, Jr., later reported, by “pulling away his arms and shoving [us] with his shoulders.”Navaira was released from jail that day after posting a $1,850 bond. In the months since, the resisting arrest charge has been dismissed, and city prosecutors have declined to file a public intoxication charge. And the assault charge? On April 6 it was “held in abeyance” — a ruling that doesn’t require Navaira to meet with an officer but requires him to stay away from Ibarra for six months and undergo counseling in anger management and family violence.
“This was an unfortunate incident,” says Navaira’s manager, Alan Baxter. “Even though he is a public figure, we feel like it’s a private matter.”
The People v. Gloria Trevi
The Madonna of Mexico, as the 29-year-old pop diva is sometimes called, was arrested in Rio de Janeiro on January 13. She had disappeared in late 1998 after allegations surfaced that she, her manager, Sergio Andrade, and her backup singer, Maria Portillo, had been party to the kidnapping, abuse, and rape of at least one teenage girl whom they’d recruited off the street with promises of music business stardom. Trevi (right) has denied the charges, but Mexican law enforcement officials believe she has spent much of the past year on the lam, including a brief stint in South Texas at a house owned by Andrade in McAllen. Last July they learned she was in Brazil when she applied for a tourist visa there and caught the attention of Interpol. After more than six months of trying to track her down, the Brazilian federal police finally captured her, Andrade, and Portillo in Copacabana, a middle-class Rio neighborhood where they had just rented an apartment.
In February, according to Trevi’s lawyer in Brazil, Otavio Neves, Mexican officials made two separate requests to extradite her to Chihuahua, where she would be interrogated so that the investigation could go forward. Brazilian law requires that all such requests go before the country’s supreme court; until the justices rule — and they could take up to a year to do so — Trevi will remain in the Policía Federal in the capital city of Brasília, where she is being held behind bars in a small room that she shares with Portillo. “She’s not doing very well,” Neves says. “She’s very depressed. Being in jail is not a very good thing.” Trevi insists she’s innocent, he says, adding that she blames the Mexican TV network Televisión Azteca for broadcasting the accusations against her and contributing to her troubles. “She hopes to prove that nothing against her should proceed,” Neves says. “She’s not guilty of anything. She should be released.”