Harlingen attorney Jose Santiago "Jim" Solis has pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting extortion by a public official.
Prosecutors say the 47-year-old former Texas state representative paid for favorable judicial rulings from former 404th State District Judge Abel Limas.
Solis admitted specifically to paying $8,000 dollars in a case involving a Valley AirCare helicopter crash in the Laguna Madre.
The case eventually settled for $14 million dollars with Solis, Limas and others getting a cut.
Limas, who presided over the 404th State District Court in Brownsville from 2001 to 2008, pleaded guilty last month to one count of racketeering.
Limas is expected to be sentenced on July 5th.
Solis' attorney Mervyn Mosbacker spoke to reporters outside Brownsville's federal courthouse.
"He TMs gonna do what TMs right|he TMs going to continue to do what TMs right, Mosbacker said about Solis. He made a mistake and acknowledged it and he TMs going to follow through and do what TMs right.
Mosbacker advised Solis not to speak to the media about the case.
Under my advice, he TMs not going to talk to the press, Mosbacker said. It would not be appropriate.
Free On Bond
Solis is free on a $50,000 unsecured bond but did not speak to reporters while leaving the federal courthouse.
As part of his plea agreement, Solis agreed to and did forfeit $250,000 dollars to the federal government this morning.
Sentencing is scheduled for August 1st.
Solis served 14 years in the Texas House of Representatives starting back in from January 1993 to January 2007.
Following his political career, Solis worked as a personal injury lawyer in Harlingen where he owns a two-story building for his lawfirm off West Tyler Avenue and F Street.
Solis is the latest person to be charged in this case, in which authorities said more arrests could come soon.
Action 4 News spoke to the State Bar of Texas about what Solis TM guilty plea could mean for his license to practice law.
Records show that Solis graduated from Texas Southern University TMs law school in May 1989.
State Bar spokeswoman Maureen Ray said Solis does not have any prior public disciplinary history.
Ray added that there are no pending disciplinary matters or complaints.
She declined to comment on Solis TM guilty plea but said the State Bar of Texas has a number of options once an attorney has been sentenced.
Ray said an attorney who has been convicted of a felony of moral turpitude can be either suspended to disbarred.
But she said the action only takes place after a criminal judgment is final and the appeals process has been exhausted or expired.
Ray said in the State Bar can also ask for the immediate suspension of attorneys who have done irreparable harm to their current or future clients.
A number of Action 4 News viewers spoke out about the Solis case on the Action 4 News Facebook fan page and valleycentral.com.
Maribel guerra says, Why do they ruin their career? Your freedom is priceless and isn't worth a penny.
Juan Ramirez had a different opinion.
I think it's an example of how we are not perfect. We all make mistakes-- that's just life, he wrote. There has to be good and bad in order to balance life.
And Nancy Sanchez said, It makes me mad to think that we elect these people to represent us. How are we suppose to trust then?