San Antonio — The next public corruption trial of former Bexar County Consul Michelle Barrientes Vera is set to take another turn this week as her attorney filed a formal motion to remove District Attorney Joe Gonzales from the case. became.
Citing the “existence of conflicts of interest”, attorney Patrick Ballantyne said that Gonzales should be disqualified and that an outside attorney should be appointed to prosecute the former District 2 consul.
The seven-page motion comes more than two months after a preliminary hearing on a statement allegedly made by Gonzales’ former campaign adviser Robert Vargas III.
Vargas, who helped Gonzales defeat Gonzales in the Democratic primary in March 2018 before leaving the campaign, said that if Meza didn’t do the right thing, she would run for Judge Belia Meza in the next Democratic primary. You’ll find someone to do that, “and he was accused” at the next trial of Barrientes Vela.
Lahud, Barrientes Vela Former DA Political Advisors During Spur Hearing
The alleged comments were made in late June when Vargas was preparing to host a radio show.
“The evidence presented at the hearing is that there is a conflict of interest that creates an unreasonable appearance of scale and character that the public perception of a fair, non-partisan and ethical criminal justice system is seriously undermined by the office of Mr. Gonzales. If Gonzales’s office is allowed to represent the state, Vera will be deprived of the right to a fair trial and a fair trial, perhaps,” the motion said.
Gonzales, who praised Vargas during his testimony on August 5, did not respond to a request for comment on the story.
Bexar District Attorney Mike Villarreal, a guest on Vargas’ radio show, testified that Vargas had commented on another guest on behalf of the constable’s office in Bexar County District 2, previously owned by Valientes Bella. ..
“If he didn’t do the right thing, that is, if he didn’t do justice, he remarked that he would kill someone against him,” said Law 13, who employs the same political advisor as Meza. said Villarreal, the Democratic nominee for Bexar County Court. ..
Villarreal said he commented on the mentor after Vargas appeared on the show.
The comments were then passed on to Meja, who hurriedly called for a hearing at the end of June, recording Vargas’ alleged remarks.
Judge Sid Harr, who represented Meza at the August hearing, will be charged with a motion ruling, court officials previously told the defenders.
The proposal erroneously states that Vargas’ work for Gonzales took place during the 2016 primary.
Seeking comment on Wednesday, Vargas issued the following statement:
“Judge Velia Meza put on record an unfounded statement, paving the way for La Hood to file a motion without conclusive and substantive support. Apparently because he lost the election. This submission was a desperate attempt at political vendetta.” Is. “
Rafud, who was hired by the company to represent Valientes Vera last year, feuded with Vargas during most of the August hearings.
Vargas was hired to work in the sheriff’s office before Rahud aimed at Vargas’ education and professional experience, testifying that Gonzales helped defeat him in the 2018 primary. He pointed, testifying whether he was honest about his career at the time.
“The credibility of the witness is always a problem, and when you enter,” he said, “the situation, then that’s all it takes to assess one’s authenticity,” La Hood said. I told KSAT after the hearing.
At some point, after prosecutors opposed a series of cross-examinations against La Hood’s Vargas, La Hood called Vargas a hostile witness.
The proposal to disqualify Gonzales also shows a pattern in which the DA “supports judicial candidates running in the primary against judges who have ruled against their will.” I’m accusing you.
The proposal also states that even after Vargas left the Gonzales campaign in the spring of 2018, the two men were frequently photographed together at public events.
Barrientes Vela and his former Precinct 2 captain Mark de García will be tentatively brought to trial on 6 December.
Court officials had earlier said that Variantes Vera would be the first to be tried. So perhaps Garcia’s trial will be postponed until 2022.
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Barrientes Vela’s lawyer has filed a motion to bring the proceedings to DA Gonzales
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