Family of cash for court favors scandal breaks the silence

Jose Manuel Longoria is best known for his role as the middleman in the former Judge Abel Limas cash for court favors scandal.

But to his family, he's still just a devoted father and grandfather who got more prison time than he deserved.

It's been very hard on my daughters especially, said Longoria TMs wife Joyce Longoria. They're very close to him and he's a good person.

The couple had been married together for 35 years.

Jose Manuel, or Meme as his friends call him, became known in Cameron County as "the middleman" in the scandal.

He was convicted on four federal charges including wire fraud, racketeering, drug conspiracy and aiding and abetting.

A federal judge sentenced him to 10 years in prison.

But it TMs a sentence which his wife says is unfair and unjust.

Ten years is a long time, Joyce Longoria said. I mean it's a very long time, there's criminals out there that are really criminals and they get two or three years and my husband got 10 years for a bribe of $1,700 dollars."

Joyce admits her husband played a role in wiring that money from a man in Arkansas to Limas so that the judge would allow a person on probation to report to their probation officer via mail instead of in person.

But she said the rest of the charges left her dumbfounded and claims her husband did not have the right legal representation to prove his innocence.

"When they gave us the full report, there were a lot of things in there that weren TMt right, she said. There were a lot of lies in there. I don TMt think he got a fair trial, the lawyer. We didn TMt pay him so obviously he didn't fight for the rights."

Joyce speaks to her husband almost daily for at least a few minutes.

And since he was transferred to a federal prison in Beaumont this summer, she tries to visit at least once a month.

Some days are harder than others for her husband.

"He still has hope, Joyce said. He still has hope that God, we all have hope that God is with us and he'll see the truth and help let him out sooner than the 10 years."

Joyce said the family has already hired another attorney and are appealing her husband's sentence.