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Cuellar Trial Set For March, 2025

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar’s bribery trial is set to commence on March 31, 2025, as announced by a federal judge on Thursday, who rejected the defense’s proposal for a September 2025 start, according to the Houston Chronicle.

“That’s too far away,” remarked U.S. District Court Judge Rosenthal in response to Cuellar’s attorney, Chris Flood.

Cuellar, a Democrat from Laredo, and his wife are charged with accepting nearly $600,000 in bribes from the government of Azerbaijan and a Mexican bank in exchange for political favors, according to the indictment. Both have denied the allegations.

Prosecutors expressed readiness to start the trial on any date chosen by Rosenthal, estimating they would need four to five weeks to present their case, according to Marco A. Palmieri, acting deputy chief of the Justice Department’s public integrity section.

Flood stated after the hearing that the trial date was mainly a scheduling matter and that they could be prepared at any time.

Neither Cuellar nor his wife attended the hearing in person, instead joining via Zoom without speaking. At one point, Cuellar’s screen went black as he briefly stepped onto the floor of the House of Representatives before returning moments later.

During the hourlong hearing in a Houston courtroom, Judge Rosenthal collaborated with lawyers to establish a protective order to restrict the disclosure of the government’s discovery materials.

Rosenthal narrowed the proposed protective order, expressing concern that it might infringe on First Amendment rights. The defense argued that the order would hinder their ability to interview witnesses as part of their investigation.

Palmieri did not specify which discovery materials they sought to protect but noted in a motion that they wanted to safeguard information that could impede the investigation, compromise third-party witnesses’ privacy, and jeopardize the defendants’ right to a fair trial.

Regarding classified materials, a government prosecutor mentioned they did not anticipate using such materials during the trial and suggested setting deadlines according to the Classified Information Procedures Act. Cuellar’s defense team indicated it was too early to determine if they would use classified materials, noting that the government had not yet provided their initial set of discovery, which includes over a terabyte of data.

RA Staff
RA Staff
Written by RA News staff.


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