A Playboy pin-up offers some spice to cash-in-suitcase trial

MIAMI — Maria del Lujan Telpuk descended on Miami beneath a cascade of camera lights and questions.

Journalists from three countries pounced on the 27-year-old bombshell as she arrived from South America on Sunday morning. Looking fresh after her eight hour flight, she posed for photographers, gave a pair of live telephone interviews, and said little about her role in a legal case that could shame two presidents.

Telpuk is known as the ''suitcase girl'' in her native Argentina. She is in Miami to testify in federal court about the alleged coverup of an international scandal that involves the United States, Argentina, Venezuela, and a suitcase full of $800,000 in unexplained cash.

The case has transformed the one-time nursery school teacher into a Playboy pinup, and, evidenced by her loving embrace of the cameras at Miami International Airport, she is clearly savoring her 15 minutes of fame.

''The truth is I still don't totally understand'' the turn her life has taken, Telpuk said as she walked to the car waiting to whisk her away to an undisclosed hotel. "It's been very shocking for me, though it's brought many new and good things.''

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