Canadian Brenda Martin will find out Tuesday if she's to stay in a Mexican jail, or be cleared of money-laundering charges, the judge in her case told CBC News on Friday.
Martin appeared in court this week to plead her case after 26 months in jail, and was hoping for a decision Friday.
The 51-year-old Trenton, Ont., woman is accused of being part of a $60 million pyramid scheme run by Canadian Alyn Waage, who was convicted of fraud in 2006. He is serving a 10-year jail term in a U.S. prison.
Martin says she is innocent and worked for Waage only as a chef, which he has corroborated in court testimony.
Martin's friend Debra Tieleman spoke to the CBC outside the prison in Guadalajara on Friday just before giving Martin the news of yet another delay.
"I think she's going to be devastated," Tieleman said. "I think anybody out there would understand that if you are innocent, every single minute you spend in jail needlessly, it's just not acceptable."
Martin and her supporters have been highly critical of the Canadian government for not acting quickly or forcefully on her behalf until recently.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Felipe Calderon are scheduled to meet with U.S. President George W. Bush on Tuesday in New Orleans for a trilateral summit.
Tieleman said she had heard on Thursday night that Harper was planning a press conference for next week, which drew her suspicion that Martin's release could be timed to coincide with an announcement by the prime minister.
"Is that a coincidence?" Tieleman said. "Are we keeping her in jail for four more days needlessly?"
She added she was still certain her friend would be acquitted and would be coming home with her soon.
"I've read the documents," she said. "I have to believe the judge is a reasonable man, and no reasonable person could read those 350 pages and not come to the conclusion that she had absolutely no involvement."
Visibly weakened by her time in prison, Martin told CBC's Latin America correspondent Connie Watson before the announcement that she is getting extremely anxious and needs to know what will happen to her next.
"Right now, I just want to get out of here. I just want out. I want my life," she said.
Burden of proof on accused
Martin's lawyers appeared upbeat and smiling before meeting with the judge in her case, the CBC's Paul Hunter reported Friday from Guadalajara.
"They had a brief chat with the judge and all of a sudden, their demeanour changed completely," Hunter said.
The lawyers said they would return to the judge's office later Friday after speaking with their client to try to pressure him to render a decision earlier, perhaps by Monday.
"In the end, it's the judge's call," Hunter said.
The nature of Mexico's justice system — which does not include oral trials and puts the onus on the accused to prove his or her innocence rather than on the prosecution to prove guilt — means Martin must wait out the legal process in prison alongside both convicted criminals and others, like her, who have yet to be found guilty of any crime.
Martin's family and friends say imprisonment has taken its toll on Martin, leaving her depressed, heavily sedated and on 24-hour suicide watch in Puente Grande women's prison near Guadalajara.
If the judge rules her not guilty, Martin will be released from prison immediately, her Toronto lawyer Guillermo Cruz Rico told CBC News. If she is found guilty, she could be sentenced to between five and 15 years for the offences, he said.
Either way, Martin will likely return to Canada, since her friends have said she will file paperwork requesting a transfer to a Canadian jail rather than appeal a guilty verdict.