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      San Benito mayor vows to fight terroristic threat charge in court

      Joe Hernandez says the continued false allegations made by so-called political rivals are taking a toll on his family.

      "They are taking it to the extent where it's hurting the family," he said. "It is hurting the family because this is all false accusations and defaming the name, the family name that took me more than 50 years to build it."

      The San Benito mayor faces up to six months in jail.

      Former City Commissioner Ricardo Rodriguez, who served in the late 70's, accuses Hernandez of making terroristic threats against him and another man.

      But Hernandez isn't worried about the case that will soon be headed to court.

      "No, I'm not because I did nothing wrong," he said.

      The alleged offense started outside the former commissioner TMs home along the 200 block of Yoakum Street in San Benito.

      The mayor says he was parked across the street to speak to his nephew who cuts lawns in the area when the war of the words began.

      Rodriguez first approached Hernandez who he believed was taking pictures of his home.

      He claimed in a police report that the mayor then said, "I'm going to get rid of you and [Alfonso] Benavidez and I'm gonna burn you out of your houses after I'm through with what's going on with me."

      Hernandez, who denies saying that, faced an ethics complaint last year from Benavides in what's known as the Raspagate scandal.

      It lead to a decision by Hernandez to enter into a Pre Trial Diversion program effectively eliminating a misdemeanor Abuse of Official Capacity charge from going on his record upon completion.

      "If I knew what I was doing was wrong I would," the mayor said. "But I love what I do."

      And as long as the people elect him into office, Hernandez says he will serve the community like he's done since 1995.

      The former commissioner was not home this afternoon for a comment.

      The case is in County Court at Law #1.

      It's expected to go before a judge as early as this month.

      The mayor's attorney, Ray Rodriguez, says the outcome of the case won't impact the mayor's probation because the alleged offense was prior to him entering the Pretrial Diversion Program.

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