One of three men convicted in 2017 of assassinating investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta was sentenced, after pleading guilty, to 15 years in prison.
In the car bombing that killed the author, Vincent Muscat has confirmed involvement.
Many believe that it was ordered by top establishment figures from Malta.
Caruana Galizia, dubbed the ‘one-woman Wikileaks,’ has exposed corruption networks in the country and abroad.
In a dramatic turn of events, Muscat changed his plea today and decided to provide details about the murder. He must also pay court costs of €42,000 ($69,000).
Also in the courtroom were the two other defendants, brothers George and Alfred Degiorgio, who are also in their 50s, but did not speak.
The three men were suspected of planning the assassination and activating the October 2017 bomb that killed Caruana Galizia near her house. That same year, they were arrested in December. The brothers of Degiorgio were stuck with not guilty pleas.
Muscat entered a plea deal with prosecutors in the case, providing details on the killing and renouncing his right to appeal, according to the Times of Malta newspaper.
A fourth individual, Yorgen Fenech, a Maltese businessman, was also charged with involvement in the killing – an accusation he denies.
Fenech, who was arrested in November 2019 as he tried to sail away from Malta on a yacht, is awaiting trial.
In her famous Running Commentary blog, Caruana Galizia, who was 53 when she died, spent 30 years as a journalist and relentlessly accused Maltese politicians and other officials of corruption.
She was a stern government critic and, by publishing allegations linking the then prime minister to the Panama Papers scandal, ultimately caused an early election in 2017.
The corruption charges were refuted by Joseph Muscat, who is not connected to the suspect. Later, in December 2019, he resigned as prime minister after an investigation implicated his close associates in the assassination.
After her assassination, her son Paul hit out at what he called the country’s “mafia state”, saying his mother had been killed “because she stood between the rule of law and those who sought to violate it”.
Following the sentencing, the journalist’s family said in a statement they hoped “this development will begin the road for total justice for Daphne Caruana Galizia”.
Her killing “destroyed her right to life and removed her right to enjoy her family and grandchildren who were born after her murder”, it added.