More details are emerging in an ongoing judicial corruption case in federal court in South Texas that federal authorities say involved, in addition to other alleged misconduct by multiple defendants, a conspiracy between a district attorney, a judge and a friendly lawyer representing the children of a murder victim.
The trio are accused in a federal indictment of conspiring together to arrange a criminal conviction of Amit Livingston in the murder case, while simultaneously putting together a settlement in the civil wrongful death case, which was also being overseen by then-District Judge Abel Limas.
Livingston’s criminal conviction made it possible to use his $500,000 bond to fund the civil settlement. Meanwhile, the judge allowed him 60 days to get his affairs in order, based simply on his promise that he would return to serve his sentence, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
But Livingston absconded, and five years later has not been found. The indictment contends that a substantial amount of the $200,000 fee from the settlement that went to the friendly attorney representing the victim’s children, Eduardo “Eddie” Lucio, was shared with the other two members of the trio: Limas got $10,000, and Cameron County District Attorney Armando Villalobos got $80,000, federal prosecutors say.
Both Lucio and Villalobos have pleaded not guilty, and the DA is arguing that the indictment is too vague to permit him to defend himself against the charges, the Brownsville Herald reports.
Limas earlier took a plea and is awaiting sentencing.
The Associated Press also has a story about the latest allegations.
ABAJournal.com: “DA Gave Me Money, Too, Ex-Judge Testifies at Another Lawyer’s Federal Racketeering Trial”
Feds Say DA Got $80K, Judge Got $10K As They Conspired to Obtain Part of Murderer’s $500K Bail Bond
July 2, 2012