Attorney cleared of corruption charges vows to rebuild shattered life

Attorney Eduardo "Eddie" Lucio is a free man tonight.

The Brownsville lawyer was accused in the Cameron County "cash for court favors" scandal.

But a federal jury in Corpus Christi found him not guilty on all five counts.

Flanked by family members, Lucio spoke exclusively with Action 4 News while leaving the federal courthouse.

"I have to start from the ground up," Lucio told Action 4 News. "I know I can do it. I'm going to do it."

Eager to rebuild his life, Lucio's name was dragged through the mud for more than a year.

The Brownsville attorney was named in the scandal alongside his former law partner and former District Attorney Armando Villalobos.

Lucio said the accusations destroyed his finances and tarnished his name.

"I need to start from scratch all over again," Lucio said. "Going through this, they have pretty much taken everything from me."

Lucio is the only one of the 12 suspects to clear his name but he said it was not easy.

The Brownsville attorney said federal prosecutors and the FBI put the full weight of the federal government against him.

"These guys bombard you," Lucio said. "They are relentless. They do not give up. They just keep going and going. They refuse to accept reason. They're not fair."

Federal prosecutors have not released a statement about the outcome of the trial but Lucio says he's ready to return to his neglected law practice.

"I can't wait to get out there and start helping people who are going through what I have gone through," Lucio said. "I can relate to people in that way, going through something like this is horrible."

Defense attorney and longtime friend Luis Manuel Avila flew in from California to help defend Lucio pro bono. Avila said federal prosecutors tried to put a $1 million dollar saddle on a $10 dollar horse.

"It was never more than a cheap, hearsay investigation," Avila said.

Co-defense attorney Rigoberto Flores told Action 4 News prosecutors had no real proof.

Flores said the FBI had recorded thousands of phone calls in their investigation but none of them were of Lucio.

The Brownsville attorney believes his closing arguments resonated with jurors.

"When in doubt, throw it out," Flores said.