Monday, May 13, 2013

 
ARMANDO VILLALOBOS TRIAL
MONDAY AFTERNOON TESTIMONY

I do not know if there is a character limitation on posts, so I am going to do a separate post for the afternoon session.

The session should start soon.  At the end of the morning session the judge modified a rule.  He told the jury that because the attorneys agreed on the translation of the telephone conversation in Spanish, they would rely on the translated transcript as the official record.

Creating a foundation - at the end of the last post it may appear like Wynn asked a lot of unimportant questions.  The questions are to form the foundation to show the alleged motivation for Villalobos taking the money - again - as alleged.  If at any time I fail to use the word allege just assume it is alleged - until we have a verdict everything remains alleged unless Armando Villalobos admits to same.

LIMAS TESTIMONY CONTINUES

DOJ lawyer Wynn is trying to establish commerce connections between Matamoros and Cameron county.  This is an important part of proving the claims.

VINCENTE ATKINSON

Limas is claiming Villalobos did not ask what the $500 was for. 

ARMANDO RUELES DEFENDANT

Case resolved pretrial diversion - 197th judicial district court - it involved over 50 lbs of pot.  Limas got the pretrial diversion by going to Villalobos after the assigned DA Pete Gillman refused.  Pete Gillman refused pretrial diversion several times.

Migdalia Lopez signed the Abatement order to allow for pretrial diversion on 9/14/09.  Lima's calender show he has an appointment with Villalobos on 9/16/09 in Villalobos' office.  Limas claims he gave Villalobos $300 at the meeting.  He got the money from his client.  Villalobos accepted the money.  Limas claims he told Villalobos the money came from the defendant.  Villalobos did not ask why Limas was giving him money.

Wynn wants to get into other payments since going back into private law practice - Villalobos' counsel objected - the attorneys are in a sidebar with Judge Hanen

Limas claims he gave more small amounts to Villalobos after these initial payments - about 10-15 times.  Limas claims it was to keep things going.

Joe Valle - an attorney- he practiced in Limas' court -

Recording Joe Valle and Limas 9/5/07 -  the second call they are talking about the machines - saying everyone gets them back every two weeks - a third call - Valle appears to be saying Mando will work with him - it is hard for me to hear because it is all in Spanish and I cannot see the transcript -


Another call on the 6th -

Mando in the tapes is Armando - Valle was not giving anything to Mando - Limas did not want any money going to Villalobos until they had things the way they wanted.  This is money paid to Valle to get the gambling machines back.  There was a pledge and offers of money.  Limas told Valle to do this to get access to Villalobos.

Limas is saying he told Valle to not give money to Villalobos until the machines were taken care of .

Limas testifies he has been convicted and ending trial.

DEFENSE CROSS EXAMINES LIMAS

Androphy:  Limas first met with government March 10, 2010.  There were about 35 times they met, up through last weekend.

Interviews were with various US Attorneys, Ponce, Wynn and others.

Some interview lasted 30 minutes to hours.

Limas has corrected interview notes in the past

On March 10, 2010, Limas told the officials that he never had a lawyer offer him money.  Androphy shows interview transcript where in fact Limas did tell the investigators lawyers had offered him money.  He also told the agents he had never been paid to take any specific judicial action. 

Limas admits during his first interviews with agents he lied to the investigators.

At the time of the initial interviews Limas started to implicate other judges, based on rumors - but not him.

Limas denied to the agents not taking ad litem appointments - these are appointments to represent the interests of the children or incompetent people.  Limas this is done as a judicial favor to his buddies.

Oscar de la Fuente and Joe Valle got these appointments - and allegedly gave kick-backs.

Limas says at some point the agents told him to stop lying.  He admits he lied to protect himself and his buddies Oscar de la Fuente and Joe Valle - Limas has no idea how much money he has collected from lawyers as kick-backs during his career.

They are talking about Limas  plea bargain.  During the plea the record showed  $257,300 in payments.  Limas says this includes after the left the bench.  He says $85,000 has to do with the helicopter case.  So as a judge he got about $157,000 in payments as a judge.

In response to the deposits put on by Wynn Androphy is trying to show Limas cannot tie each deposit to the specific cases implicated by Wynn.

Limas just documents he got $185,000 after he left office.  This means he did not get $157,00 while in office.

Limas on deposits cited by Wynn says from Villalobos but no record to prove it based on the deposit slips.

Limas cannot testify which money was from Villalobos or other lawyers.  Limas is claiming Valle and de la Fuente only each paid about $3-4 thousand dollars.

He also got money from Meme Longoria - Meme Longoria ran mostly criminal cases.

Limas says 70-80 thousand dollars is not a lot of money to him.  Nonetheless Limas still took the small amounts.  Limas claims he did it to help the people who were his friend's clients.  He never set a fee for his actions, but he took the money for his favors.

LIMAS SENTENCING AND PLEA BARGAIN

The plea bargain shows a maximum term of 20 years, and a fine of twice the gross profits.   Limas is hoping he gets probation.  Limas admits the government based on his testimony will consider same during the sentencing.  Limas denies he has to favor the government in testimony.  Limas believes all he has to do is testify truthfully in order to get a reduced sentence.

A downward motion is a motion which  reduces the time to be served.  The plea bargain provides the DOJ reserves the right to file such a motion if Limas cooperate.

Androphy established for the jury that based on Limas' cooperation the DOJ can recommend probation.  Limas says the government version is what he told them, but then admits he lied in the beginning.

LIVINGSTON MATTER

Livingston started out in Judge Murray's court.  Judge Limas initially signed off on the search warrant of Livingston's home. 

Limas agrees the judge controls the bond - higher or lower.  Limas admits he had the civil case in the Livingston case.  Livingston guilty plea occurred on February     2007.  Limas until last weekend has not looked at the Livingston transcript.

In terms of the Atkinson case for example - Limas only discussed them within the last year or so - maybe some 2 years after his initial interview with agents.  Atkinson came up later when agents asked what else he may know about Villalobos.

Villalobos involvement in Livingston

Chuck Mattingly was First Assistant in Charge of the Criminal Division.  Limas admits Villalobos spent most of his time managing, but it would have been for Mattingly to supervise the ADA.  Korina Barraza also worked on the Livingston case.  Ther was another DA but I did not hear the name - It was Mr. Rabb

Morning of Livingston Guilty Plea - no plea bargin as of late Monday -

On Tuesday Ed Mallet, Gladden, Barraza, Rabb, Mattingly and Villalobos all were there.  Villalobos shows after the plea was done.

The suggest for 60 days to report was made by defense counsel Gladden.  Limas claims Mattingly objected to Limas not sentencing Livingston that day.  Limas claims he want a Pre Sentencing Report before sentencing.  Limas claims he sentenced Livingston immediately on Mattingly's request.

In the plea Livingson gave up his right to appeal.  Androphy is arguing through questioning this is why Livingston was sentence so fast - to keep him from changing his mind.  This is an advantage for the state.

Limas reiterates Mattingly wanted Livingston sentenced right away.

Limas claims some 90% of cases are resolved through plea bargains

Mr. Gladden asked before the plea that his client be given 60 days to report - Limas claims.

Mattingly was not there when Mr. Gladden asked for the 60 days to report.  Limas claims Ms., Barrazas or Mr. Rabb was there when Gladden asked for the 60 days.  Androphy showed through previous testimony Limas testified that Mattingly was in his office when the 60 days deal was discussed.  Mattingly allegedly came in later and asked for Livingston's passport.  Limas is restating Barrazas was the one who accepted the deal.

Limas is stumbling over his previous testimony.  Previously he testified that Mattingly was there when the 60 days was discussed.  Now Limas is saying that testimony was incorrect..

Limas is testifying he never asked for the documents in the Livingston case to help refresh his memory.  The DOJ offered the documents for the first time only within the last week.  Limas has previously not allowed to refresh his memory using the Livingston documents.

Limas testified that the DA's office never agreed to the 60 days to report.  Limas is convinced this was discussed before the guilty plea - otherwise Gladden would not agree to to plea.

Limas is dismissing the 60 day issue.  He says the key was to get Livingston sentenced. 

This is very confusing - now Limas is saying he does not really remember Barraza's or Rabb being there.

Limas - on the 60 days the plea document shows Gladden claims the DA did not agree to it but  Gladden was asking for it anyway.

Limas does not agree that at any time the DA's office opposed the 60 days.  Limas believed giving Limas time to report as being acceptable because he had seen it in federal court.  Federal courtr does allow for voluntary reporting.  Limas as this as acceptable.

Limas defended a client some 20 years ago in Houston wherein he met Gladden's cocounsel in the Livingston case.  Limas does not remember what if anything the family had to say about the Livingston plea bargain.

Limas was given the transcript over the weekend to read the families reaction, but decided it was not important enough to read

WE ARE IN A BREAK

LIMAS TESTIMONY CONTINUES

Discussing phone call with Peter Zavaletta.  Limas is being forced to admit knowledge of the transcript.  Limas denies ever reading the transcript on the Zavaletta's campaign web page.

Androphy:  It is up to the judge about self report - under judges control - judge could have said no.  Limas appears to be suggesting he was bound by the agreement.  Limas agrees he can reject the agreement.  Limas is saying a back door agreement - and Androphy should know these things are done.  Androphy denies knowledge of back door agreements

Limas insists he never read the plea transcript untl Saturday - even after Zavaletta told him it was on his campaign web page.

Another phone call,

Oscar de la Fuents and Limas - Oscar de la Fuente says no one likes that "B" referring to Cornejo Lopez.  They are discussing putting out bad shit on Cornejo Lopez - they are talking about controlling San Benito.

December 2007 -

Androphy points out no reference to Armando Villalobos in the call.  There is talk about catching Livingston.  Villalobos had enlisted state and  federal officials to help find Amit Livingston

Limas told Villalobos it was politically wrong to arrest Livingston's father.

Limas calls it an abuse of power to arrest Livingston's father

Limas calls the entire arrest of Livingston's father a show an abuse of power

Limas agrees his memory is flawed.  Limas denies his memory is selective.

Androphy is trying to argue that Limas was mad at Villalobos for trying to bring in Livingston by arresting his father.

Androphy is alleging Limas had a relationship with Livingston's father. 

Call with Limas wife - Limas claims "Livingston sent me $10,000 more "  Limas claims his comment was just a joke-   Limas is stating he is just now learning Oscar de la Fuente was hired to help with Livingstons's father

Limas actually said it is funny his comment about the $10,000 -

Cornejo-Lopez filed a complaint that Limas received $10,000 from Livingston (not known if father or son)

Another tape  Trey Martinez Talking to Limas

Armando and Limas:  Limas' language is so bad - they are talking about Cornejo-Lopez -  - Jan 2008, Androphy notes there is no discussion about Livingston - Androphy is trying to make the jury believe Villalobos and Limas never really discussed Livingston - no money discussion - Limas says there was no discussion because it was way past.

Joe Lopez - Villalobos main investigator  - Jan 2008, talking to Limas - about the campaign - "We do not need niggers in Texas."  from the mouth of Abel Limas

Limas talking with an unknown according to Limas -

Limas claims the Commission on Judicial Conduct called Armando on Cornejo-Lopez - Limas told Armando he better get back with them.  Shauna with the commission spoke directly with Judge Limas.  This would be unethical.

He is speaking to someone named Trey - Limas just referenced his name - Limas now claims to remember Trey's voice.

Limas is also before the Judicial Commission - Limas understood the complaint against him related to Livingston - at one time Limas though Armando filed the complaint - he now does not believe it was Armando.

Limas denies any finding of wrongdoing by Judicial Commission - Androphy I suspect is in the process of pulling up the private reprimand.  Androphy is tendering to Limas the letter from the Judicial Commission .  DOJ Wynn is trying to object - Limas denies ever seeing anything from the Commission on Judicial conduct - this already came out in a previous hearing. - Judge Hanen is trying to decide what to do about the document.  Letter admitted

Limas denies ever seeing the reprimand from the State Commission on Judicial Conduct - he cannot remember if he had an attorney before the Commission on Judicial Conduct.  The letter is addressed to Limas and attorney Michael Collins. 

Limas reads letter into record - almost impossible to hear him.  Limas claims to have no knowledge of this letter and had no knowledge of the private warning by the commission on judicial conduct.

Limas says the DOJ told him Rosenthal wanted permission to see the Commission record - he signed the authorization but denies any recollection of knowing about the letter.

Defense Exhibit 24:  Limas verifies his signature on a document.  he does not remember ever seeing it - he signed it April 4, 2008.  It is a letter from his lawyer to the Commission on Judicial conduct.  It contains a series of questions.  Limas took notes and statements to his attorney to complete the form.  Limas in his letter said prosecution made no objection to Limas 60 days to get his affairs in order .  It references the Livingston plea transcript which Limas stated he has not seen until this past week.  Limas is putting the blame for the answer and documents on his lawyer - he remains in denial regardless of what he signed in the letter to the Judicial Commission that he included the transcript or any of his answers to be ignorant of same. .  ( I know bad structure - but fatigue is setting in)

Now Limas is saying he remembers reading the letter, but trusted his lawyer to have the correct answers.

Limas notes that during the nearly two years the Livinston case was pending, Livingston never fled. 

OPTIONS ON BOND WHEN DEFENDANT FLEES

Limas says only one option.  Androphy notes on a states motion the entire bond can be forfeited.  Limas claims this is true .  A judge can also extend the appearance so the bond is not forfeited.

Limas could also have forfeited only a portion of the bond - in the event Livingston did not appear. 

More tapes

Jeffery Millar and Limas (Ad guy) (will check spelling later)

Talking about Limas campaign ad - Limas is claiming Emma Perez was on   ??????      payroll.  The caller claims Emma is protecting Peter Zavaletta -  They are claiming Emma is mad because Armando Villalobos beat Yolanda De Leon.  Limas is trying to push the idea everything was done for the children and family - they did not want to drag the family through the court.

Limas admits that at every minute he was involved in the negotiations.  But earlier he denied this. Limas is deny this - Limas wants the husband to say Limas was involved protecting the families wishes.  

Limas is speaking to a Jeff - - this Jeff claims this was a plan against Villalobos by Zavaletta -

Limas is saying he wants to spend 50 in newspaper ads.

De la Fuente and Limas tape

Simply referenced Livingston

MONEY FROM VILLALOBOS TO LIMAS

Androphy notes Limas claims to have smoothed things out with Villalobos in April.  Androphy wants Limas to testify Villalobos not involved in Livingston matter because he walked into the court at the last minute.

Limas then met with Villalobos demanding to know who was going to monitor Livingston.  Limas is saying the problem was Livingston fleeing.  He said he went to Villalobos home and picked up 5k in a McDonald's bag.  Androphy is asking why would Villalobos pay Limas the $9,700?  Limas says Villalobos told him he got money in the Livingston case, 

Androphy is trying to get and answer as to why Villalobos would pay him this money - he cannot seem to get an answer. 

Androphy and Limas are going in endless circles over this issue.  Livingston's father took Amit to Huntsville to practice being in jail - apparently there is some program which allowed for this if you pay.  Amit then left and never returned.

Limas is taking the defrault position that judges do not get involved in the pleas and just accepts what the attorneys agree to.  Judges have authority to overrule plea bargains.

Androphy reminds Limas he made millions over the years - Limas admits he was struggling two years later after he daycares went under.

Limas unwilling to admit he has a reputation problem since his conviction - so he does not know the value of his word.

Recess - Court will reconvene at 8:30 am Tuesday






6 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you could add the time of your post it would be helpful in order to figure the timeline out

Anonymous said...

Just saw your update and realize that it is in order on your site sorry

Anonymous said...

Jeff Millar is the name of the Ad guy.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for live blogging this.

Anonymous said...

GREAT STUFF,...YOU HIT IT OUT OF THE PARK...

MACLOVIO O'MALLEY

Anonymous said...

Yes thanks for keeping us informed!