The former judge at the heart of a four-year federal investigation of judicial corruption told jurors on Thursday that he accepted kickbacks from several attorney friends, including the South Texas lawyer on trial.
Former state District Judge Abel Limas took the stand in Brownsville as a prosecution witness against Port Isabel lawyer Ray Marchan, the first of a dozen indicted in the case to go to trial.
Limas, the government's featured witness, pleaded guilty last year to racketeering and is awaiting sentencing. Marchan faces seven counts, including racketeering and conspiracy.
The trial's details may affirm the public's worst fears about justice behind closed doors, where scales tipped in favor of money exchanges between lawyers and judges not evidence and procedure.
The intercepted conversations between Limas and Marchan played for the jury were profane, cynical chats between buddies about using the system to line their pockets. The amounts weren't huge - about $11,000 from Marchan - but Limas testified that Marchan wasn't the only one giving him money, and that, in total, he had taken more than $250,000 in bribes and kickbacks.
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Ex-Judge Testifies in Lawyer's Corruption Trial