Court grants continuance in district judge’s bribery case

A judge granted a motion for continuance Monday, a week after counsel for Rodolfo “Rudy” Delgado said it needed more time to prepare for trial, court records show.

Delgado’s case, which stems from accusations that the suspended state district judge accepted bribes in exchange for “judicial favors in his courtroom,” was originally set to go to trial this May. But Delgado’s attorney, Michael W. McCrum, filed a motion last week asking the court for more time.

In his motion, McCrum cited different reasons for needing additional time in preparation for defense of his client.

Among the reasons, McCrum cited “voluminous documents and recordings,” of discovery related to the case, that he still needed to sift through, as well as a mention that prosecutors would be providing more documents that same week.

“Government counsel indicated that undersigned counsel should expect this second production of discovery also to be voluminous,” the motion stated.

Delgado faces three counts of federal program bribery and three counts of violating the travel act, according to the indictment.

The indictment outlines three incidents in which Delgado took bribes in exchange for a favorable decision for the client of a local attorney.

In the first incident, Delgado solicited and accepted cash from an attorney in a case involving a federal program. Delgado allegedly ordered the client’s arrest in June 2016 after that person failed to meet the conditions of their release, but an arrest was not made until December 2016.

After the arrest, the attorney “paid Delgado approximately $260 in U.S. currency in exchange for Delgado’s agreement to release (the client) on a personal bond,” the indictment reads.

In a second incident, the judge is alleged to have taken a bribe in exchange for granting a lawyer’s client a personal bond and his release from jail, the court record states.

The last alleged bribe, in which more than $5,000 was given to Delgado, took place in January.

Following the indictment, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct suspended Delgado without pay until further notice from the commission.

The 64-year-old Edinburg man, who has been free on a $100,000 bond since his initial appearance in McAllen federal court in early February, was expected to be arraigned March 9 in Houston before U.S. Magistrate Judge Christina A. Bryan, but he pleaded not guilty in a motion filed March 5 and did not appear before the court, court records show.

If convicted of the bribery charges, Delgado faces a maximum of 10 years in federal prison and up to $250,000 in fines.

Delgado’s trial, now tentatively set for Sept. 10, is expected to take about a week to complete.