Villalobos’ ex-partner tries to block Limas testimony - Valley Morning Star : Local News

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Villalobos’ ex-partner tries to block Limas testimony

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Posted: Monday, November 12, 2012 11:45 pm | Updated: 1:41 pm, Wed Jan 16, 2013.

BROWNSVILLE —Attorney Eduardo “Eddie” Lucio, the former law partner of Cameron County District Attorney Armando R. Villalobos, is trying to prevent former 404th state District Judge Abel C. Limas from testifying at his trial.

Attorney John T. Blaylock, who represents Lucio, who is no relation to the state officials, states in court records that information that the U.S. Attorney’s Office has provided indicates that Limas is cooperating with the government against Lucio.

Blaylock is requesting a hearing on a motion to exclude Limas’ testimony, alleging that it would be biased and inherently unreliable because Limas and his family stand to benefit from his cooperation.

Lucio is charged under federal indictment with one count of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, one count of conspiracy to violate the RICO Act, three counts of extortion and two counts of honest services fraud.

The indictment charges Lucio and Villalobos with generating income for themselves and others through bribery and extortion, favoritism, improper influence, personal self-enrichment, self-dealing, concealment, and conflict of interest.

Lucio and Villalobos have pleaded not guilty.

The charges stem in part from the investigation into Limas who has pleaded guilty to racketeering, and is now a key federal witness for the prosecution of public corruption cases.

Blaylock contends in the motion recently filed in court that Limas will be receiving a downward departure in sentencing should he cooperate to the government’s satisfaction and that if Lucio is convicted, Limas’ sentence could be further reduced and that he could be further rewarded.

Blaylock also argues that Limas’ testimony would be extremely difficult to disprove because he is the only witness and there is no direct evidence linking Lucio to the alleged crime.

“Cross-examination may be an insufficient tool to establish the veracity of these unverifiable statements,” Blaylock stated in the motion.

Blaylock further noted that a hearing is especially important in this case, because the government’s entire case rests on, “cooperating informant testimony.”

This motion was among numerous others that were recently filed by Blaylock. Others include a motion that the U.S. Attorney’s Office reveal any deals or compensation between the government and witnesses, including confidential informants, and that after government witnesses have testified, that a transcript of their grand jury testimony be provided so that the testimonies can be compared.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has not yet responded to the motions.