Witness tampering, false statements & lies featured in Rosenthal trial

Witness tampering, false statements and lies were all featured in first day of testimony in the trial of attorney Marc Rosenthal.

Federal prosecutors allege that the Austin-based attorney orchestrated a "cash for court favors" scheme in a Brownsville courtroom.

Rosenthal's trial began Monday morning in Corpus Christi.

The trial was originally supposed to take place in Brownsville.

But U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen granted a change of venue due to wide publicity surrounding the case.

Rosenthal is accused of paying bribes to former 404th State District Court Judge Abel Limas in order to get favorable rulings.

The first witness for the prosecution was Rosenthal's former employee Gilbert Benavides, who is the nephew of the late and former Camerno Coutny Commissioner Pete Benavides.

Gilbert Benavides told juror was acting under Rosenthal's orders when he had investigators alter reports in accidents so that Rosenthal could get bigger cash settlements.

Among the accidents was one where an illegal immigrant woman lost her legs in a train accident in Kenedy County.

In other case, Benavides testified that his stepcousin was paid $2,500 dollars to falsely state he was a witness to a train accident in Rancho Viejo.

Both Limas and former Texas State Rep Jim Solis are expected to testify against Rosenthal.

But defense attorney Ernesto Gamez told Action 4 News his team plans to discredit them based on deals Limas and Solis allegedly cut with prosecutors.

Benavides not facing any criminal charges but is expected to finish his being cross-examined by defense attorneys on Tuesday.

Testimony in the Rosenthal trial is expected to continue through early March.