George and Alfred Degiorgio have been summoned as witnesses by lawyer Christian Grima in a libel suit filed against him by former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

The two self-confessed hitmen were sentenced to a 40-year jail term last October after admitting their role in the Daphne Caruana Galizia assassination.

Muscat had sued Grima over a Facebook post claiming that Muscat “blew up”  Caruana Galizia.

Grima was reacting to a video clip of Muscat’s wife Michelle who was speaking about Caruana Galizia’s murder. In that clip she said that she was more sorry about “what happened to her [Daphne]” than the journalist’s own family.

Grima reacted by commenting, “Your husband blew her up, Michelle. That’s what happened to her.”

In an earlier sitting Muscat stressed that Grima’s words “left no room for interpretation. "It stated clearly that I was the perpetrator or somehow involved in the murder.”

The court had upheld a request by Muscat’s lawyer to invert the burden of proof, meaning that Grima has to prove the veracity of his allegations since he had claimed that the comment was not defamatory because it was true.

Grima’s lawyer subsequently filed a warrant to summon the Degiorgios as witnesses for Monday’s sitting. However, the time for executing that warrant was too short for the witnesses to be escorted from the prison. 

The court deferred the case to June for the Degiorgio brothers to take the witness stand.

Lawyer Pawlu Lia is assisting Muscat. Lawyer Carl Grech is assisting Grima.

On Saturday the Degiorgio brothers in a statement said Caruana Galizia was being monitored by the secret services in the days before her 2017 murder, implicating “prominent people in politics” in the journalist’s assassination. 

“We are not society’s monsters, as they’re making us out to be,” they said in a series of unsubstantiated claims.

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