BROWNSVILLE — State District Judge Elia Cornejo-Lopez has filed a civil lawsuit in which she accuses several of the persons involved in the federal corruption probe in Cameron County of libel, slander and defamation, according to court records.
In the lawsuit, Cornejo-Lopez states she had no choice but to sue her predecessor ex-Judge Abel C. Limas, ex-state Rep. Jim Solis, former-Port of Brownsville Police Chief George Gavito and others in order to clear her name.
Cornejo-Lopez, of the 404th District Court, also named Limas’ wife Genevieve, their son Abel Limas Jr., and Austin attorney Marc G. Rosenthal as defendants in her libel and slander lawsuit.
The lawsuit was assigned to her court, but court records show it has not yet been assigned to another court.
The lawsuit does not specify the false statements that the defendants are alleged to have made. She seeks an unspecified amount of monetary damages from the named defendants.
Limas Jr., representing himself, filed a response to the lawsuit denying the allegations and also asserted 30 defenses, while noting that Lopez’s lawsuit does not give fair notice of the alleged statements made, the manner in which the statements were either slanderous or libelous, and the individuals that made the statements.
He has requested a jury trial.
The other defendants have not yet responded to the lawsuit.
Lopez states in the lawsuit that when she told Limas in 2006 that she would challenge him in the 2008 election for the 404th court, “Limas became angry and threatened revenge.”
“Limas sent messengers to tell Lopez that (Limas) was going to make Lopez regret running against him, and would ruin her and her family,” Lopez states in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit further contends that although she asked for specifics on the messages, which were vague and broad, none had been forthcoming.
“Nevertheless, the messages of revenge made Lopez nervous, worried, lose sleep, awake with trepidation, dread the news of the day, created anxiety, and loss of peace of mind,” she stated in the lawsuit in which she is representing herself.
Lopez added that it was not until this year during Rosenthal’s trial that she learned by reading The Brownsville Herald and the Valley Morning Star that the defendants fulfilled and accomplished their threats of slander, defamation and injury to reputation.
“In 2013, Lopez finally had concrete evidence courtesy of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Assistant District (sic) Attorney’s Office and the 40,000-plus recorded telephone conversations (of) all of the actions of defendants against Lopez, specifically, but not limited to slander, defamation and libel, loss of reputation and embarrassment,” the lawsuits states.
Lopez’s lawsuit refers to the wiretaps from the years-long federal inquiry into corruption within the judicial and legal system in Cameron County that snared Limas, Solis, Rosenthal and others.
Lopez said in her lawsuit that the defendants published their statements to third parties and among themselves and made the statements with full knowledge that these were false with the goal of causing her, her family and her reputation harm.
Lopez, noting that she is an elected official and that her reputation is important to her and her continued employment, further charges that Limas and other defendants continue attempts to slander, defame and harm her as revenge for defeating Limas in the 2008 election.
“Lopez brings this lawsuit against defendants because defendants are liars and slanderers, and defamers,” she stated, adding that she had no choice but to file the lawsuit in seeking exoneration.
She also noted that at the time of the alleged slanderous statements in 2007 and 2008, she was a private individual.