Former Texas State Judge Pleads Guilty in Federal Judicial Corruption Case
ALBUQUERQUE—Angus Kelly McGinty, 51, a former Texas state district court judge in Bexar County, Texas, pleaded guilty today to an honest services wire fraud charge and admitted depriving the State of Texas and citizens of Bexar County of his honest services by soliciting and accepting bribes intended to influence his judicial decisions. McGinty’s guilty plea was announced by Damon P. Martinez, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico, and Christopher H. Combs, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s San Antonio Division.
In announcing the guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez said, “Independent and impartial judges are essential to the proper administration of justice. The Department of Justice is committed to rooting out corruption and maintaining confidence in public institutions. This case should serve as a reminder to those who occupy positions of public trust that they must act with integrity and in conformity with the highest ethical standards. Individuals who abuse positions of public trust for private gain will be held accountable.”
“Despite Judge McGinty’s obligation to fairly and impartially carry out his duties as an elected judge, he engaged in serious criminal activity,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher H. Combs. “Regardless of whether someone is a judge or any other public official, the FBI is committed to investigating and exposing public corruption.”
McGinty initially was charged with conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery, federal programs bribery, extortion under color of official right, and honest services wire fraud in an indictment filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in June 2014. In Feb. 2015, a five-count superseding indictment was filed charging McGinty with conspiracy to commit honest service wire fraud, three counts of honest services wire fraud, and extortion under color of official right. At the time of the events underlying the charges in the indictments, McGinty was a state district court judge in the criminal division of the 144th Judicial District Court in Bexar County, Texas. According to the superseding indictment, between Jan. 2013 and Sept. 2013, McGinty solicited and accepted bribes from an attorney who appeared before him in exchange for favorable rulings for the attorney’s clients. McGinty resigned from the bench on Feb. 14, 2014.
According to court documents, from Jan. 2013 through Sept. 2013, McGinty solicited and accepted bribes from Alberto Acevedo, Jr., an attorney in San Antonio, in exchange for favorable judicial rulings that benefited Acevedo and his clients. Acevedo’s bribes to McGinty included cash, car repairs, arranging the sale of McGinty’s vehicle, and registering a vehicle purchased by McGinty. In exchange, McGinty provided the favorable judicial rulings requested by Acevedo, including lenient sentences and less restrictive conditions of release for Acevedo’s clients. According to the indictments, McGinty received gifts, payments and other things of value totaling more than $6,655.00 from Acevedo.
Today McGinty entered a guilty plea to Count 3 of the superseding indictment. In his plea agreement, McGinty proffered the following statements in support of his guilty plea:
On or about January 1, 2011, I assumed office as judge of the 144th Judicial District Court, located in Bexar County, Texas. During my term of service as judge of the 144th Judicial District Court, I knowingly participated in a scheme to defraud the State of Texas and citizens of Bexar County, Texas of their right to my honest services inasmuch as I solicited and accepted things of value from Alberto Acevedo, Jr., including vehicle repairs to my two Mercedes Benz, my 1992 Mercedes Benz 300CE and my 2001 Mercedes Benz S430. I accepted these benefits knowing that the purpose behind them was to influence me to exercise my official discretion as judge of the 144th Judicial District Court in favor of Mr. Acevedo and his clients. From at least January 2013 to September 2013, Mr. Acevedo paid for repairs and services to my two Mercedes. I took steps to cover up my dealing with Mr. Acevedo by failing to report the benefits I had received from him on my Personnel Statement for 2013. On May 20, 2013 at 7:02 p.m., I sent Mr. Acevedo a text message to make arrangements to drop off my 2011 Mercedes Benz S430 at his law firm so that he could take it to his mechanic for repairs. That text message traveled in interstate commerce.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, McGinty will be sentenced to 24 months in federal prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court. McGinty’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 15, 2015.
Acevedo pled guilty on March 17, 2014, to a felony information charging him with bribery involving a program receiving federal funds. In entering his guilty plea, Acevedo admitted that he corruptly influenced a state court judge by giving him things of value. In his plea agreement, Acevedo admitted giving gifts, payments and other things of value totaling more than $6,655.00 to the state court judge in exchange for favorable judicial rulings that benefitted him and his clients. At sentencing, Acevedo faces a maximum statutory penalty of ten years in prison and a $250,000.00 fine. Acevedo is released on bond pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez praised the investigative work of the San Antonio Division of the FBI. The prosecution of this case in federal court in San Antonio, Texas, is being handled by Special Attorneys Mark A. Saltman and Brock E. Taylor of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas is recused.