Couple formally charged in Argentine VP assassination attempt

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The gunman who tried to shoot Argentina's Vice President Cristina Kirchner in the face was formally charged Thursday with attempted homicide, as was his girlfriend, courts documents showed.

Fernando Sabag Montiel, 35, was caught on stunning video pointing a pistol at Kirchner from close range as she greeted supporters outside her home on September 1.

After Montiel's weapon failed to go off -- for reasons still unknown -- he was overpowered and arrested, while his girlfriend Brenda Uliarte, 23, was arrested three days later.

The judge leading the case, Maria Capuchetti, issued charges of attempted aggravated homicide with premeditation against Montiel and Uliarte, who will remain in police custody, according to court documents seen by AFP.

Judge Capuchetti has yet to issue charges against two of the couple's acquaintances -- Agustina Diaz, 21 and Gabriel Carrizo, 27 -- who were both arrested earlier this week.

Authorities had said earlier that there was evidence of "planning and prior agreement" between Montiel and Uliarte, though their motives have not yet been clearly established.

Kirchner, the 69-year-old former president, enjoys a loyal support base among followers of the center-left Peronist movement.

But she is disliked in equal measure by the political opposition, and is at the center of a heated corruption trial from her time in office.