Indicted DA attempts to defend himself against federal charges
Thu, 24 May 2012 02:26:05 GMT —
It's been two and a half weeks since Cameron County was shaken by the news that their district attorney was indicted on 12 counts of racketeering.
Armando Villalobos walked from his office to the Federal Courthouse in Brownsville to turn himself over.
Since then, the DA has not been heard from, until now, speaking out exclusively to Action 4 News.
I think people have a sense of who I am and they have not abandoned me, said Villalobos.
He has a few more months before his federal racketeering case goes to trial, and he remains confident he will come out on top.
"It's going to be quite difficult to show that somebody even the boss can just take a file and do what they are alleging without anybody in the office knowing about it, said Villalobos. It's a fact that we do have these systems and we are transparent that is going to make a difference when we do go to trial."
The federal indictment alleges Villalobos illegally generated income through bribery and extortion, structuring plea agreements to generate money for himself. The most notable involving a convicted murderer who was let out on bond and was never seen again.
Villalobos allegedly made a deal with the devil and put $80,000 of that bond money in his own pocket.
Marcy: In the indictment it says that you possibly or allegedly took money so that there would be a favorable outcome in a trial. Did you ever do anything like that?
Villalobos: No I did not.
Marcy: You never took anyone's money and said we're going to make sure you get off a little bit easier on this one?
Villalobos: No never " never.
He's still the county and district attorney even after county leaders spoke out against him staying, Villalobos said it's in the best interest of the county.
"The office is calm regardless of what's occurring outside, said Villalobos. Business is being conducted as normal. Cases are being tried, courts are being run efficiently. "
And he's still running for congress, even though a dark cloud has been cast over his campaign.
"It does put an enormous amount of stress on me, my family, and my in laws. It's something I didn't choose to be involved with, but I'm certainly not going to turn away and hide. "
That is until Villalobos broke his silence exclusively to Action 4 News telling us it was important he defend himself to the public he served for eight years.
Marcy: Do you feel like you've let the people of Cameron County down?
Villalobos: I don't feel like I have because I didn't do anything to deserve to be indicted.
In fact, the district attorney claims the indictment is politically motivated, and whoever is behind the allegations wanted to see him crumble.
"It's a way to possibly stop my particular ascension up higher, said Villalobos. The age of the allegations and the lack of evidence on the allegations to me it seems very wrong to be in this position that I'm at."
A tough spot he said especially when it came down to explaining to his children what was going on.
"Not a situation you want to be in as a parent, said Villalobos. Especially in this type of situation, especially when they're used to their father fighting crime -- now crimes being alleged against him."
Those crimes could result in Villalobos spending up to 20 years behind bars if he's found guilty.
Trust has already been lost on the people's end as well as the accused.
"People you think are your friends or people you think you are helping for a good cause could any moment turn on you, said Villalobos.
The federal trial has been rescheduled for August 30.