South Texas attorney helped corrupt judge

August 11, 2011 5:04:43 AM PDT
A South Texas attorney has pleaded guilty to being a middleman and arranging a payment to a corrupt judge.

Federal prosecutors say 54-year-old Jose Martin "Joe" Valle of Harlingen pleaded guilty Wednesday afternoon in Brownsville to aiding and abetting extortion by former State District Judge Abel Limas.

Limas in March pleaded guilty to racketeering and awaits sentencing. He failed in his 2008 re-election bid and returned to private practice.

Investigators say the judge arranged for Valle to refer a wrongful death lawsuit to a firm where Limas wanted to work when he left office. Valle received $25,000 for the referral and gave $3,000 to Limas. Further details were not immediately released.

Valle, who's free on $50,000 bond, faces a maximum 20 years in prison when he's sentenced Nov. 14.


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