A Texas state district judge has been convicted of bribery and obstruction, announced Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick for the Southern District of Texas.
Following a six-day trial, Rodolfo “Rudy” Delgado, 65, of Edinburg, Texas, was convicted of one count of Conspiracy; three counts of Federal Program Bribery; three counts of Travel Act Bribery and one count of Obstruction of Justice. Delgado was originally charged in January 2018 by complaint, and then indicted in February 2018. The grand jury issued three superseding indictments.
“Corrupt judges can harm a community’s confidence in our judicial system,” said Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski. “Today’s verdict takes an important step toward restoring that confidence, and affirms that no one – especially not a judge – is above the law.”
“The bribery of a judge may be the worst break of the public’s trust in government,” said U.S. Attorney Patrick. “Rudy Delgado used his position to enrich himself. He didn’t just tip the scales of justice, he knocked it over with a wad of cash and didn’t look back. Delgado’s actions unfairly tarnish all his former colleagues.”
Delgado is currently a justice in the Thirteenth Court of Appeals for the State of Texas. He was previously the presiding judge for the 93rd District Court for the State of Texas, which has jurisdiction over Texas criminal and civil cases located within Hidalgo County.
As a district judge, Delgado conspired with an attorney from January 2008 to November 2016 to accept bribes in exchange for favorable judicial consideration on criminal cases pending in his courtroom.
As part of an investigation conducted by the FBI, Delgado also accepted bribes on three separate occasions in exchange for agreeing to release three of the attorney’s clients on bond in cases pending before his court.
The first two bribes totaled approximately $520 in cash and the third bribe, which occurred in January 2018, totaled approximately $5,500 in cash. After Delgado learned of the FBI’s investigation, he also attempted to obstruct justice by contacting the attorney and providing a false story about the payments.
Sentencing has been set for Sept. 25, 2019. Delgado was permitted to remain on bond pending sentencing. The FBI conducted the investigation.
Trial Attorney Peter Nothstein of the Criminal Divison’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Arthur “Rob” Jones and Robert Guerra are prosecuting the case.
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