Defense Attorneys Speak Out on Jones-Sanchez Trial
POSTED: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 - 7:42pm
UPDATED: Monday, April 25, 2011 - 10:40am
EL PASO- Guilty on all counts. That's the verdict handed down by a jury today in the public corruption trial against former County Judge Luther Jones and former District Clerk Gilbert Sanchez..
The verdict came down about 2:00 p.m. at the federal courthouse downtown. Luther Jones and Gilbert Sanchez were found guilty of conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud.
Both were convicted of conspiring to rig a multi-million dollar bid proposal in 2004, so that Altep, a company represented by Jones, would get a contract to modernize the county's records.
The project was overseen by then District Clerk Gilbert Sanchez. No bid was ever awarded.
During the three week trial, Sanchez did admit to receiving meals, drinks, and airfare from Jones. But he claimed anything he got from Jones was because of their long-time friendship, not as a bribe for his support of Altep.
Today, a federal jury of 7 women and 5 men disagreed, finding both men guilty of conspiring to deprive the public of a fair bid process through emails and letters.
Sanchez's attorney says Gilbert still doesn't think anything he did anything corrupt.
"He still believes he didn't do anything wrong. If he believed he did something wrong, we wouldn't have been to trial," said Oscar Mondragon.
"It's obviously been traumatic. This trial has lasted about 3 weeks and obviously this takes a toll on everybody," said Luther Jones' attorney, John Granberg.
Gilbert Sanchez left the courthouse earlier today for lunch, just hours before his conviction. It's likely the last time he'll walk around a free man for quite some time.
As for punishment, it could be at least a month before they're sentenced. But they're both facing up to 40 years in prison.