Lawyer Pleads Guilty in Bribery of Judge

Lawyer Pleads Guilty in Bribery of Judge

A San Antonio solo on March 17 pleaded guilty in a federal case that accuses him of bribing a former state district judge with cash, car repairs and other gifts in exchange for lenient sentences and less restrictive conditions of release for his clients.

Alberto Acevedo Jr. pleaded guilty to one count of “Theft or Bribery Concerning Programs Receiving Federal Funds,” which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine and a $100 assessment. The judge in question, former 144th District Judge Angus McGinty, resigned his bench on Feb. 14.

Frank A. Perez, Acevedo’s lawyer, declined comment, explaining in an email, “I still have a sentencing hearing to deal with.”

McGinty didn’t return a telephone call seeking comment.

Assistant U. S. Attorney Brock Taylor and Acting U.S. Attorney Steven Yarbrough, both of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico, each didn’t return an email seeking comment.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico is handling the case because the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas recused itself, according to an email from New Mexico office spokeswoman Elizabeth Martinez, who declined comment about the reason for the recusal.

In a press release, Yarbrough said, “Fair and impartial judgment by those entrusted to carry out the laws is the bedrock of our legal system. We cannot and will not allow the public’s faith in our legal system to be shaken by judicial corruption.”

The March 4 Information in United States v. Acevedo alleged that, between about March to December 2013, Acevedo “did corruptly give, offer and agree to give anything of value to any person, with intent to influence and reward Angus Kelly McGinty,” an agent of the state and Bexar County. Both governmental entities received more than $10,000 in federal assistance in 2013, noted the information. The amount that Acevedo allegedly gave or offered to give was more than $5,000.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office press release said that in a plea agreement, “Acevedo admitted giving gifts, payments and other things of value totaling more than $6,655 to the state court judge in exchange for favorable judicial rulings that benefitted him and his clients. Acevedo’s bribes to the state court judge included cash, car repairs, arranging the sale of a vehicle belonging to the state court judge, and registering a vehicle purchased by the state court judge. According to the plea agreement, the state court judge provided the favorable judicial rulings requested by Acevedo, including lenient sentences and less restrictive conditions of release for Acevedo’s clients.”

The plea agreement is not publicly available on the federal courts’ Public Access to Court Electronic Records system.

Yarbrough “praised the investigative work of the San Antonio Division of the FBI, which he noted is ongoing,” said the press release.

Martinezwrote in an email, “[W]e cannot discuss the nature or extent of that continuing investigation at this time.”