Joran van der Sloat, who was allegedly involved in the 2005 disappearance of American girl Natalie Holloway, was accused of extortion and fraud in a Birmingham, Alabama courtroom on Friday after being temporarily extradited from Peru to the United States. pleaded not guilty to the charge. .
At the Hugo L. Black U.S. Court, van der Sloat declined the services of a Dutch interpreter and only admitted that he understood the charges against him.
He pleaded not guilty through his attorney, federal defender Kevin Butler.
Before arriving in Alabama on Thursday afternoon, Van der Sloat, 35, pleaded guilty to the 2010 murder of Stephanie Flores, a 21-year-old Peruvian student, while serving time in prison in Peru.
Peruvian authorities announced last month that they would temporarily allow his extradition to ensure he “finally faces trial” in the United States.
George Seymour, an attorney for Natalie’s mother, Beth Holloway, said Peru was a huge contributor to the process. “They didn’t need to allow this process to proceed.”
Around the time of his arrest in the Flores case, van der Sloat was tried by a federal grand jury in Alabama to extort Holloway $250,000 for information on how his daughter died and where his body was. was indicted on charges of Never found.
At the time, officials said he had accepted a $25,000 down payment and provided false information in an FBI sting operation.
Natalie Holloway was 18 years old when she went missing on May 30, 2005 after a night out in Aruba while traveling with her Alabama high school classmates. A judge declared her legally dead in 2012, but the unsolved case has attracted public attention for years.
“Now, 18 years later, the wheels of justice are finally turning for our family and we have the day of court we’ve been waiting for,” Holloway said in a statement. “The felony arraignment has been completed and prosecution of this criminal case has officially commenced.”
Holloway said van der Sloat’s acquittal plea “doesn’t disappoint us” and added he was confident federal prosecutors would win a guilty verdict.
Lawyers for the Holloway family expect the case to go to trial, but the timing remains unclear.
“Today’s arraignment represents an important step forward, but we must remember that the quest for justice is far from over,” Beth Holloway’s attorney, John Q. Kelly, said in a statement.
Van der Sloat was in custody at Shelby County Jail in Alabama as of Friday.
If convicted in the extortion case, he will first return to Peru and then the United States to serve the remaining 28 years of his sentence for the strangled murder of Flores.