Monday, May 20, 2013


MONDAY - DAY 7 - AFTERNOON SESSION
ARMANDO VILLALOBOS TRIAL


Waiting on Judge and jury - on the memory issue of Valle - if you look to my Monday morning opening post, it clearly shows I forgot where we ended on Saturday - did I lie - no - I just forgot - I am managing a lot of things. Androphy is doing a great job on the issue, but the jury will weigh the entire evidence of the witness and not just his memory or whether he lied or nor.

A question was asked about the release of the bond.

Had they not sentenced Livingston that day he would have had to stay on the bond pending sentencing - had he not returned the bond would have been forfeited and the children would have gotten nothing.

By sentencing Livingston the same say, the purpose of the bond was served and it could be release as part of the settlement.

Great Question - thanks for helping me to better guide my readers.

1:15 p.m.

Androphy continues cross examination of Valle

Androphy is continuing with Valle's memory problems - the question is when did he make the pledge to Villalobos and make those payments.

Valle agrees he initially said 2004, but then at the James Hearing he corrected his testimony after being allowed to see documents to refresh his memory.

Androphy is going back over the James Hearing testimony and his conflicts in testimony.  Valle is putting up the defense of memory and having just gotten out of federal prison.

They are looking at notes which show the 1 year plea - Valle says the note is not his handwriting of that of another attorney in his office.  The note shows - the ADA recommendation was one year state jail.  There is no name no initial as to who wrote it - Valle says he met with Villalobobs but not Ms. Rollins, ADA.

Valencia file shows he has mental issues - this is in a document sent to the intake prison system so they know better about the inmate and any special concerns they may need to address.

GUTIERREZ CASE

1:30 P.M.

Valle believes meeting in Sept of 2009.  This case involved 2 DWI's.  In DWI 1st Valle would have met with the court ADA.  Valle met with Villalobos over the second DWI.

At the James Hearing, Valle testified he met with Villalobos on the 1st DWI.

Valle prior to the James Hearing he was just released from the camp - he met with the government for about 30 minutes.

A Leonardo Rincones, a lawyer represented Guiterrez not Valle in the first DWI.  Valle admitted to this in the morning session so I am not sure how he got it wrong just now.

In the first case Chuck Mattingly approved the pretrial diversion.

DWI 2nd - the evidence was - Valle does not recall -  he does not remember his discussion with Gutierrez - Valle does not recall looking at a video - Valle does not recall the witnesses - Valle today cannot testify about the strengths or weaknesses in the case.

1:46 p.m.

Androphy is trying to establish Valle  did insufficient investigatory work on the case.  Valle strongly disagrees - he claims his 20+ years of experience told him what he needed to do.

Valle - this deal he got was not too much out of the ordinary

In the DWI 2nd Valle believes he spoke to the court ADA - in the James Hearing Valle did not recall if he went to the ADA.

It is the same thing over and over again - Androphy is way past over kill- but to my amazement the jury is very engaged.  This is a very good jury -

Valle had eaten lunch with Joe Lopez a couple of times, but never discussed the investigation.

THIS MORNING'S TAPES AND ARCADE MACHINES

The issue of $5,000  was raised -

Exhibit 233 - the tape being replayed - checks from Valle to Villalobos had nothing to do with the arcade phone call with Limas

Valle testified Villalobos was a busy may.  Valle was an ADA 88-90 - he worked on felonies.  It could take weeks to get into him.  For years Valle gave Villalobos campaign donations. 

Valle agrees no one had to do him any special favors for the $5,000 pledge.

AUSA WYNNE - REDIRECT

2:07 p.m.

Valle says he made the $5,000 pledge because Limas told him to as a way to get access.  Valle could not get into Villalobos office unless he said he was bringing a payment on the pledge.

Valle is going blank that elections are in November.

When  the pledge was made Villalobos was already in office and seeking reelection.

Again the same tapes.

Valle says he waived the $5,000 pledge while discussing the machines with Limas - In Valle's mind by reminding Villalobos of the pledge it would give him access to Villalobos

Exhibits 240 and 241 -  In 2007, Valle is speaking of a pledge -

Gutierrez was not successful with pretrial diversion on the 1st DWI - he was not represented by Valle

Wynne - the James Hearing was short compared today.

2:15 p.m.

Records show Valle met with Villalobos over cases.

A ltr from Valle to the family that he discussed the case with Villalobos

Valencia got 1 year state jail 1 year county jail county jail to run concurrently

with time served he only had about 6 more months (169 days)

April 2012 - Valle sentenced June 7, 2012 in his case.  Valle provided the Valencia files to the government -

April 26, 2012 - reviewing grand jury testimony - so then he was sentenced in April but reported to camp in June 2012.

Re: Cash payments to Villalobos they were cash with no receipts

In terms of not wanting to be ID'd as making a $5,000, donation at once.

Valle the no receipt was only to the cash payments in Villalobos office.

2:31 p.m.

Androphy back on Cross

The issue back to the tape Valle used the term check not tape

 Androphy - "How many times have you changed your testimony today sir."

Valle - does not believe he has changed his testimony  - he has had his memory recovered.

Valle says he has been telling the truth to the best of his memory

Witness dismissed.

2:34 p.m.

Jonathan Gracia next witness

Currently self employed - former ADA under Villalobos 2008 - March 2012

Case of Enrique Calvillo - DWI offense - felony

Gracia was ready to take the case to trial - the case was difficult - there was no standard breathalyzer - the arresting officer was prepared to testify Calvillo was very intoxicated.

Gracia went forward with jury selection - the jury could not be seated because of two many strikes of jury members.

????? then arrested for possession of controlled substance

Villalobos recommended probation be offered and it was - Oscar de la Fuente was the defense attorney. 

Hervery Roel - Gracia first saw it through intake - aggravated assault and second aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Facts of the  second case - showed aggravated assault - Gracia became concerned because the  cases were back to back.

Affidavits of non-prosecution are common in family relationships. 

Joe Lopez - was the Chief Investigator under Villalobos - Lopez did not work directly with Gracia - the courts had a separate investigator - Lopez was to supervise.

2:44 p.m.

Note from Chief Lopez to Villalobos indicating victim does not want to cooperate

Gracia has tried cases even with an affidavit of non-prosecution

Based on the evidence Gracia would have prosecuted even with the non-prosecution affidavit.  The evidence without the witness was strong.  A decision to move forward was in the best interest of the victim.  Gracia felt like her life was in danger.

Gracia sent his own investigators.  He does not remember their names - but it would have been out of the 107th.

Colvin and Cross

This was Gracia's first felony trial.  Only about 40 people on the prospective panel.  2 had been impacted by DWI's  - Judge Ben Euresti decided not enough people on the panel - each side had 10 strikes  as a matter of law - that means 20 people could be removed without cause - some exceptions like you cannot get rid of all blacks for example.

This left 20 possible jury members now they can be removed based on cause - bias, been impacted by similar situations - etc

Remember this is the Calvillo DWI - Fish and Wild Life Officer pulled Calvillo over - the officer had a ride along  -a friend was with the officer - there was no field sobriety test done to prove the case.

Gracia agrees that even perfectly sober people would fail the field sobriety test - I have actually won DWI's using medical records to show knee pins for example made it impossible for the person to walk a straight line.

Colvilla then picked up a charge of possession while the DWI was pending - it was a state jail felony case.

Standard when two charges are pending in a plea bargain one is dismissed - this is what happened in this case.

ROEL case

Gracia sent his investigators to the victim along with a crime victim specialists to make sure she knew her rights - for example her legal status could not be used against her - and there was different assistance available to her.

REDIRECT BY AUSA WYNNE

3:00 p.m. - DWI 3 sentence would be probation - possession of controlled substance also probation.

Gracia wanted to go forward with the Calvillo because this guy needed help - it is also not just about winning - it is about sending a message and helping Calvillo

Hervery Roel

Looking at graphic of stab wounds - stab wound in neck - the stab was directly behind the hair line - very close to spinal cord

We are looking at the victim's puncture wounds  - Androphy tried to keep it out - overruled.

Break and then new witness: 3:06 p.m.  

Wynne will limit his direct to 10 minutes on issues Mattingly said he did not know about.  Androphy wants to keep the witness off the stand.  He is stating he may need an hour or longer to cross even though Wynne says he only needs 10 minutes

ON CALLING VILLALOBOS AS A WITNESS

In a trial before the judge the police officer said he did not know if my client was masturbating or clearing his urethra.  -This was reasonable doubt.  The state closed.  I asked for a not guilty which the judge was about to pronounce when my client stood up and demanded to testify.

The judge had to let him testify in his defense over my objection.  The judge asked him if his pants were down around his knees or did he just have his zipper open - my client said down round his knees - everyone heard my pencil break - needless the say he was found guilty

A client testifying is never an easy thing - in most cases not wise - unless you need to use the client to get in evidence like medical records to show pins in the knees which impacted her ability do the field sobriety test.

waiting on Judge and Jury

AUSA HAS WITNESS ON DIRECT

Rolando Castenada - Chief of Police of Edinburg

Before he was a Texas Ranger Lieutenant - he played a major role in the Amit Livingston investigation  - he is discussing photos recovered from Amit Livingstons' computer showing her breasts.

The photos impacted getting ready for trial because they established a relationship

No issue about semen on jeans.  Briefly he did speak to Amit Livingston - he claims the discussion showed deception. - testimony stricken on objection

The first report was preliminary and the ballistics expert said inconclusive - the final was conclusive - the primary was inconclusive

The defense expert's conclusion was not consistent with the state's conclusion.  Judge agrees not relevant if this was important to the witness.

Judge is sustaining numerous objections by Androphy.

Witness was to be witness  for the state because he worked the investigation.

Witness met mother of victim.  She did not speak English -

The witness did not follow-up the husband as a suspect and he was cleared - they also used a polygraph on the husband - no deception indicated.

3:37 p.m.

Androphy on cross

Mr. Castaneda is saying no semen was found on jeans.

Ltr from Korina Barraza to Gladden - notes their office failed early to find there was semen on the jeans of the victim .  Castaneda did not know about this.

AUSA Wynne on ReDirect

Castenada says the semen evidence was made up

ANDROPHY on cross

Caasteneda does not know where this semen issue  came from at the last minute.

New Witness - FBI Special Agent Mark Gripka

AUSA Surovic on Direct

Witness has been an agent for 8 1/2 years.

To become agent - long background and then 6 months training.

His background is a finance degree  - He gets regular training

3:43 p.m.

Assigned to Operation Slim Pickens -  August 2007 began -  it began source information involving Meme Longoria - both tied to Judge Limas and Oscar de la Fuente -

The source did consensual recordings with Meme Longoria - this then allowed for direct interception of Longoria lines - and then eventually to Limas lines.

Lawyers in side bar with judge over endless objection being both sustained and overruled

Wire taps went  down December 2008, the investigation progressed - Limas approached in March 2010 - they interviewed Judge Limas in their offices

March 10, 2010, target letters went out advising them if they wanted to get an attorney they wanted to speak to them.  Valle, Solis, Longoria, Rosenthal and Limas all received target letters - Oscar de la Fuente was not a target at that point.

In March 10, 2010, all they had was the calles to ODLF.  Early December 2011, ODLF approach  the FBI office.  At that point ODLF had his lawyer contact the FBI. 

From the time ODLF went in Gripka - objection sustained question going nowhere - the problem is Gripka is not an expert.

Gripka felt like the case against ODLF was not very strong - ODLF was the most cooperative witness

ODLF  was very forthcoming -

A 302 is a written memo summarizing what was said - it is a summary of what was said - they were written to keep track of the investigation while helping the DOJ.

ODLF brought up information on cases which they did not know about it.  May 2010, is when they started to look at Villalobos based on meetings with Limas.

Over 200 grandjury subpoenas issued - much of it was for documents - not witnesses .

In terms of Villalobos subpoenas went out after May of 2010.

May 12, 2010, first subpoena issued.

4:01 p.m.

They were looking for calenders, appointment logs, case files - they were not provided as a result of the first subpoena - a second subpoena was sent based on a meeting with Rene Gonzalez at the DA's office - Rene Gonzalez asked for a subpoena so the FBI could get the documents - there was an issue as to whether or not the first subpoena was clear.


The FBI went after Villalobos financial records - bank - credit - campaign

The FBI noticed a number of cash deposits in his account - this lead to a closer accounts.  This had them look at his American Express Account - objection on this issue sustained.

Exhibit 295: apparently there are two 295's one is in evidence one is not. side bar on issue.

They then were lead to money orders - Exhibit 294 -

Jury excused for Motion outside the presence of the jury

they are  discussing the multiple Exhibits 294 - the judge has the same as the prosecution - the defense is saying a different 294 was admitted.

DOJ is saying Androphy did not object to final 294 exhibit. 

Androphy is now saying he is objecting to Exhibit 295 - Androphy says he objects to conclusions on Exhibit 295.  Androphy does not want witness testifying about notes on unexplained cash.

Villalobos wife told them cash was paid for her tuition in Matamoros medical school. 

Androphy is concerned unexplained cash summaries could bias the jury.

There are no receipts from the school - all they have is her statements to the investigators. Mrs. Villalobos stated all paid in cash - but there are no receipts

302 Mrs. Vilalobos attended medical school from 2004- 2010.

Androphy is concerned the with the term unexplained.  The judge agrees to take out the term unexplained from the document.

294and 295 Admitted with last 4 lines redacted from 295

We are in another break

4:28 p.m.

AUSA Survic continues Direct

We are looking at a chart looking at cash activities - 2006 -2012.  They started in Jan. 2006, so they could establish a baseline pattern before the allegations to see if they changed or stayed the same.

We are also looking at money order payments.

The witness is describing each column on the document being shown to they jury.

FBI Agent noted money order entries to determine if a check could have been written instead.

The subpoenaed credit companies to see how bill was paid, check or money order and  this way they were able to tract the money order.

The chart shows different locations wherein money orders are being purchased at Cir. K.

Exhibit 294.  tracts just the money orders.   We are looking at a $500 MO to AMEX. 

4:50 p.m.

The FBI collected ruffly 100 money orders.  On the chart if highlighted in yellow they were able to ID where the cash came from.

The white areas on the chart means they cannot explain where the cash came from.

Looking at 5/07/07 cash deposit for $2,000.  They cannot ID a source where the money  came from. 

Money orders are hard to tract - this is why they had to subpoena accounts wherein money orders were used.

Villalobos also paid by check but to AMEX they saw a pattern of using money orders.

5:00 p.m.

Creditors would show payments - but the FBI could not tract how the payments were made.

AMEX account showed he travelled almost monthly - they could not tract any cash payments for his trips to DC, or Vegas.

$31,000 and another $20,000 - the $31,000 shows paid with money orders.  the $20,000 could not be traced.  During 2006-2012, $34,000 in cash deposits would could be traced to a source of payment to Villalobos

Villalobos annual salary 2006-2012  - averaged about $150,000.  Eventually his paycheck was done by electronic deposti. 

Villalobos had no other source of income other than referral fees (these may have been in place since before taking office)

The agent aligned Villalobos calenders and appointment calender to deposits from such people as Oscar de la Fuente.

The referral fee cases were before Villalobos became DA.

Exhibit 29:  more charts - Livingston case

Phone records will say who was talking, when and for how long.

January 4, 2007, at 3:37 p.m. Eddie Lucio to Villalobos , 3:57 pm then Villalobos to Eddie Lucio, - calls between Mario Hernandez (victim's husband) and Eddie Luio 4:45 p.m

During this time frame Mario gave his deposition in the civil lawsuit.

We are looking at a life insurance policy Armando Villalobos - Villalobos was trying to cash out his policy - reason given - to use money to pay down mortgage. They money paid off his mortgage for his condo in Florida - paid off American Express card.

Exhibit 31 - Rule 11 Agreement civil suit dated February 12th, Monday night - filed at 8:18 a.m. in the morning before the plea agreement held.

This means it was filed before the plea agreement was heard and Judge Limas would have provided for the 60 days - How did they know Judge Limas was going to do this?  There is no way the father of Livingston would have agreed to this without an understanding his his son would get the 60 days.

Phone calls on the 12th - phone calls between Villalobos and Eddie Lucio and Eddie Lucio and Mario Hernandez- and then Mario contacts Eddie Lucio - this is all back and forth.

On the 13th Mario Hernandez calls Eddie Lucio at 8:19 a.m. - the Rule 11 settlement agreement was filed at 8:18 a.m.

We are looking at phone logs  there are endless rapid back and forth between Villalobos and Lucio - text messages are not provided .

Villalobos calling or texting Limas - more calls between Lucio and Mario - at 6:31 in evening the phone calls continue

on 2/12- 2/13 9 calls between Eddie Lucio and Villalobos

Bolth Villalobos and Lucio were involved in settling the Livingston case.

We are looking at check dated 2/16/2007 check to Eddie Lucio - $200.00 check

On 2/15/07 calls between Lucio and Villalobos
On 2/16 calls between Lucio and Villalobos


5:25 p.m.

The jury is very engaged

Lucio put the money in his IOLTA account - it is a trust account for the benefit of the clients  -

Lucio found 4 accounts on Lucio

Exhibit 39:  Lucio phone record 3/1/07 at 3:43 p.m. phone call or text between Lucio and Villalobos

This is 2 days after Lucio deposited the money into his account.

We are now looking at a $40,000 cash withdrawal from Eddie Lucio's account - 3/1/2007, at 4:09 p.m.

We are looking at another $40,000 cash withdrawal from his account on March 5.  This is cash - not a money order.

Exhibit 42:  Summary of phone tolls - 2/26 to 3/7 - the logs show frequent communication. 

March 6 the day after the second $40,000 withdrawn.

[note these guys are friends - I have friends I speak with every day or sometimes several times a day]

We are looking at two $1,200 cash deposits which cannot be explained.  For a year the agent ID Villalobos accounts march 2007 to ??? 2008 $20,000 of unexplained cash deposits.

Another phone call summary Abel Limas and Villalobos 8/28/2007 8 calls between Limas and Villalobos.

We are looking at Abel Limas account - a deposit slip dated 8/29/07 - $900 in cash deposited to Limas account

Exhibit 48 - 8/30/07 $3075 - cash deposited in Limas account

Government exhibit 9 - 12/31/07 deposit of $900 cash deposit into Limas account

Truck Seizure  5:42 p.m.

June 30, 2008, filing truck forfeiture case.

Agreed final judgment truck case 8/6/2008

Exhibit shows 8/20/08 check for $42,000 to Oscar de la Fuente.  8/20/08 same check to Eddie Lucio

Now we are looking at Eddie Lucio deposting 8/25/2008 the $42,000 directly into his operating account and not his client trust account (IOLTA account) 3:14 p.m.

Phone log - 8/25/08 Eddie lucio to Villalobos at 3:23 p.m. - note above Lucio deposted the money in his account just 9 minutes earlier.

8/27/08 - $6,000 in cash taken out of Eddie Lucio's operating account -

8/30/08 - Money order obtained for payment to Travis Bence - paying $285 for Travis Bence  - relates to some real property from Villalobos

Money Order 8/3008 - AES loan - $242.33 by Villalobos

8/31/08 paid to capital one for $15.00 by Villalobos

8/30/08 document is summary of money orders

August 31, 2008 - Villalobos had over $700 in his checking account, but got a money order for $15.00

exhibit 64 - Oscar de la Fuente deposit slip for $42,000 check and some small cash

exhibit 295 page 6 - September 2008 - Eddie Lucio withdraws another $3,000 cash withdrawal

On 9/18 and 9/19 a series of Money Orders by Villalobos - on 9/12 only  withdrawl from Villalobos was for $200.00, but the MO added up to $2,567

Exhibit 294 - page 48 - Money order to capital one 9/18 by Villalobos - they are going through all of the money order issued on 9/18 and 9/19

9/19 cash deposit into Villalobos account

Getting close to shutting down for the day.

More money orders paid to Capital one bank by Villalobos.

9/18 - 9/19 total $2,567 in money orders - and only one $200 cash deposit into his account.- This is Villalobos.

Recess until 8:30 a.m.

DOJ says a few more questions tomorrow and then a short.  The DOJ will rest and then the defense will start tomorrow.

After the government rests The defense will call its first witness - during break the defense will be allowed to make its acquittal motion

























6 comments:

Anonymous said...

In Gracia's testimony, at which point was it direct and which point was it cross?

BobbyWC said...

Look to the red high lights

Bobby WC

Anonymous said...

So how does Cameron Countys top law dog have his wife attending 7 years of college in Matamoros? 7 years multiplied by how ever many trips per week it takes to graduate.....

BobbyWC said...

that is not officially in evidence yet - shall see

Bobby WC

Anonymous said...

matamoros isnt to far from Brownsville, and it has the closest medical school. that should answer your question

Anonymous said...

Seriously?? You're going to defend this based on proximity and not her safety (being wife of the DA). It's that mentality that has set the standard for Cameron County officials and voters. Would you send your wife to college Mexico? OK now if you're any type of law enforcement would you or your wife even visit Matamoros?
I expect a certain level of morality in my elected officials that people that make comments like that obviously don't.;