POSTED: Monday, July 22, 2013 - 4:39pm
UPDATED: Monday, July 22, 2013 - 9:18pm
Socorro TX (KTSM) — Former Socorro Mayor and Socorro ISD board trustee Willie Gandara Sr, pleaded guilty to corruption charges.
Gándara's trial was scheduled to begin today, but Gandara changed his mind, the jury was in place and the witnesses were ready to testify it was at the very last minute that the former Socorro mayor decided to change his mind, at one point they handed him water and Kleenex as he broke in to tears.
Willie Gándara Sr pleaded guilty to one charge of wire fraud in exchange to drop the mail fraud charges; he admitted that when he was a Socorro ISD board member he traded votes with Frank Apodaca and Access Healthcare in exchange for financial benefits, and with the intention to secure a contract with the health care company.
Federal Judge Frank Montalvo asked him if he also negotiated a construction contract in exchange for his vote he answered yes, under the plea deal Gándara can face up to 42 months in prison and a 500 thousand dollar fine.
Willie Gándara is only one of the 11 people indicted in this case all of them pleaded guilty, he was accompanied by his lawyers and some family members, we questioned him about the agreement, he will be sentenced on November 6th.