Cameron Co. DA and Congressional Candidate Armando Villalobos Indicted for Racketeering

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Probably a bad sign for his Congressional campaign: Cameron Co. District Attorney and Democratic candidate for CD-34 Armando Villalobos has been arrested for a wide range of crimes, ranging from racketeering to extortion to fraud. His law partner, Eduardo Lucio, faces similar charges. Note: this is not State Senator Eddie Lucio Jr or State Rep. Eddie Lucio III. This is a different guy.

From the New York Times:

In its most explosive allegation, the indictment claims Villalobos agreed to a deal that gave a man who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder 60 days of freedom before reporting to prison. Amit Livingston was convicted in 2007 of killing 32-year-old substitute teacher Hermila Hernandez, whose body was found on South Padre Island two years earlier.

The indictment also accuses Villalobos of taking multiple $5,000 bribes for “favorable prosecution decisions” for criminal defendants, including clients of two South Texas attorneys identified only by their initials in the indictment.

Villalobos is not resigning as District Attorney, nor is he suspending his campaign for Congress. He was leading in fundraising among the eight candidates filed for this Democratic seat. The 34th runs from the Corpus Christi area down to the border.

The other candidates in the Democratic primary include Ramiro Garza Jr., former Edinburg City Manager; Juan Angel Guerra, former Willacy Co. DA; Anthony Troiani, former Brownsville Commissioner; former congressional aides Denise Saenz Blanchard and Solomon Torres; and Filemon Vela, son of the former Brownsville mayor. The race will clearly go to a run-off; the only question is who winds up in it.

There's a shred of good news in this for Villalobos: being indicted or even convicted of his crimes won't disqualify him from serving in Congress should he win the election. He could even run and serve from prison, as Rep. Matthew Lyon did in… 1798. For more, see FactCheck.org.

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About Author

Katherine Haenschen

Katherine Haenschen is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas, where she studies political participation on digital media. She previously managed successful candidate, issue, voter registration, and GOTV campaigns in Central Texas. She is also a fan of UCONN women's basketball and breakfast tacos.

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