SAN ANTONIO (AP) — A former Texas district judge has been indicted on federal bribery, extortion and wire fraud charges for allegedly soliciting and taking bribes from a San Antonio lawyer while on the bench.
The indictment, which came late Wednesday in San Antonio, accuses former judge Angus McGinty of seeking and taking bribes from lawyer Alberto Acevedo Jr. from January through September of last year. In return, prosecutors say, McGinty provided the favorable judicial rulings requested by Acevedo, including lenient sentences and less restrictive conditions of release for Acevedo's clients.
Acevedo pleaded guilty March 17 to giving McGinty gifts and payments totaling more than $6,600 and promising to pay for car repairs McGinty needed. Acevedo, who remains free on bond pending sentencing and faces up to 10 years in prison, acknowledged he was caught in an FBI investigation into suspected corruption at the Bexar County Courthouse in San Antonio.
"The outcome of criminal cases should be determined by the evidence and the law, not by paid-for bias. When citizens cannot have faith in the very people who are sworn to uphold the law, confidence in our judicial system is shaken," U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez of Albuquerque, New Mexico, said in a statement Thursday. Martinez is a special prosecutor in the San Antonio case.
The indictment charges McGinty with 12 counts of wire fraud and one count each of bribery, bribery conspiracy and extortion. He resigned as judge in February but did not withdraw soon enough from the Republican primary race for the 144th district seat to be removed from the ballot. He finished third, receiving about a quarter of votes cast.
A phone message left at McGinty's law office was not returned Thursday, and a call to his listed home number rang unanswered.
If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.