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Venezuela Names Loyalist Sanctioned by US to Key Legal Post

Newly named Vice Chief Prosecutor Katherine Harrington at the Supreme Court after taking an oath in Caracas, Venezuela, July 4, 2017.

Venezuela's supreme court has pushed aside the opposition-controlled congress with its own appointment of a deputy chief prosecutor: a government loyalist who was sanctioned by the U.S. for her role pursuing President Nicolas Maduro's opponents.

Tuesday's decision to name Katherine Harrington to the post is another step undermining chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega Diaz.

The high court is holding a hearing Tuesday on whether to strip Ortega Diaz of immunity from prosecution for unspecified irregularities.

She's the nation's top law enforcement official and has broken with Maduro's government over its decision to strip congress of its powers and rewrite the constitution.

The constitution says the semi-autonomous chief prosecutor has power to name her own deputy.