(Orange, Texas)

May 13, 2013

Corruption trial starts for former Texas DA

Associated Press

BROWNSVILLE, Texas — Prosecutors say a former South Texas district attorney and one-time candidate for Congress used the power of his position to profit.

The trial of former Cameron County District Attorney Armando Villalobos began Monday in Brownsville. He faces federal racketeering and corruption charges. Villalobos is the highest-profile target of a years-long federal investigation into corruption to go to trial.

Among the dozen people swept up in the FBI investigation have been former state district Judge Abel Limas, a former state lawmaker and numerous lawyers. The previous two accused lawyers who went to trial were convicted.

Villalobos faces nine counts, including racketeering and extortion charges. Prosecutors say he used his position to enrich himself, accepting more than $100,000 in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for his discretionary decisions.