Saturday, August 10, 2013

Trial begins for final lawyer charged in judicial bribery scheme; convicted ex-judge is star witness

Judge Abel Limas
Trial begins for final lawyer charged in judicial bribery scheme; convicted ex-judge is star witness
ABA Journal Law News Now
By Martha Neil
August 7, 2013

A convicted former South Texas judge testified Wednesday in federal court against an Austin attorney accused of participating, with his former law partner, who was then the Cameron County district attorney, in a "cash for court favors" scheme.

Eduardo "Eddie" Lucio, who is charged with extortion and racketeering, is the 12th defendant in the case to have his day in court. His case is being tried in Corpus Christi, rather than Brownsville, because he requested a change of venue. In opening statements Tuesday, the prosecution portrayed Lucio as a "figure man and straw man" whose "strings" were "pulled" by former Cameron County District Attorney Armando R. Villalobos. The defense said evidence was lacking, according to the Brownsville Herald and KGBT.

On Wednesday morning, former 404th District Court Judge Abel Limas, who has admittedly taken bribes, began testifying against Lucio., reports KGBT.

Lucio is not related to two state lawmakers from Brownsville with similar names.

Villalobos was convicted in a related case earlier this year. Accused of operating the DA's office as a criminal racketeering enterprise, Villalobos argued that he had acted within his prosecutorial discretion. However, with Limas as a star witness against him, the former DA was convicted in May of racketeering conspiracy and five counts of extortion, the Valley Morning Star reported. He was acquitted on two extortion counts.

Lucio is accused of funneling $80,000 to Villalobos, for referring a murder victim's family to him to file a civil lawsuit. The convicted murderer, Amit Livingston, jumped bond after being released by Limas on a 60-day pass, and the money for the DA came from a $500,000 bond forfeiture, according to the Brownsville Herald and the station. Read more

The Brownsville Herald: Judge Abel Limas pleads guilty to racketeering charge

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