Friday, February 05, 2010

Corruption: U.S. Judge convicted of bribery

United States Attorney John E. Murphy and David Cuthbertson, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation–El Paso Division, announced that a federal jury this morning found former El Paso Criminal District Court Judge Manuel Joseph Barraza, aka Manny Barraza, guilty of charges related to a bribery scheme.

The jury convicted Barraza of two counts of wire fraud and the deprivation of honest services and one count of making false statements. The jury acquitted Barraza of one count of mail fraud.

Evidence presented during trial revealed that beginning on or about December 2008 and continuing and including February 26, 2009, Barraza solicited, agreed to accept, and accepted bribes in the form of cash money. He also solicited sex and agreed to accept a bribe of engaging in sexual activity with women. These acts were all committed in exchange for his influence and exercise of discretion in his official capacity as an elected judge. In carrying out his bribery scheme, Judge Barraza promised to intervene in a felony criminal case filed by the State of Texas pending in state district court in order to influence the outcome of the case.

Barraza, who remains on bond pending sentencing, faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each of the two fraud counts, and up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the false statements charge. Sentencing is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on April 28, 2010, before United States District Judge Frank Montalvo. At sentencing, Judge Montalvo is expected to enter a judgement of criminal forfeiture against Barraza, who today agreed to forfeit to the Government the bribe money he received—$5,100.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted for the government by Assistant United States Attorney Laura Franco Gregory and Antonio Franco.

Source: US Dept of Justice

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