In a message posted on Twitter, President Hernández rebutted Mr. Ardón’s testimony. “That never happened,” he wrote. “Not $1 million, not any amount, never, nobody.”
According to witnesses, that was not the only bribe to the president’s National Party.
Mr. Ardón said that he paid more than $4 million in elections from 2009 to 2017, including $2 million for Mr. Lobo in 2009 and $1.6 million for Mr. Hernández in 2013.
Devis Leonel Rivera Maradiaga, one of the leaders of Los Cachiros, a feared drug gang, testified that he gave Mr. Lobo $500,000 or $600,000 in 2009. Another convicted trafficker, Víctor Hugo Díaz Morales, said that he paid $100,000 into the campaigns that year.
Mr. Lobo has denied receiving any bribes or having any association with drug traffickers. “I deny the drug criminals and murderers,” he wrote on Twitter, and said that since 2017 he had put himself at the disposal of the United States Embassy in Honduras and the United States attorney in Manhattan for investigation.
Mr. Hernández’s lawyers argued that there was nothing to tie him to the drug traffickers except their own words. “Serial killer after serial killer gets up on the stand and tells you what happened with this uncanny memory of what happened 15 years ago, 10 years ago,” his defense lawyer, Michael R. Tein, said in closing arguments.
Their testimony was an effort to win “get-out-of-jail early cards,” he said. And “if you suggest something to them,” he added, “they’re going to dance.”
The story about El Chapo’s bribe, he said, was no more than the “absolutely uncorroborated, unbacked-up naked word of an admitted multimurderer,” Mr. Tein said.