Uresti Fraud Trial Opens With Talk of Money and Sex

“You’re almost going to have to say, ‘Well, we deny he slept with her on multiple occasions. However, if he did’ (it was not prohibited). That really throws water on the denial,” the judge said.

Uresti Fraud Trial Opens With Talk of Money and Sex

We Say: Though indicted and standing trial, Carlos Uresti still serves as Democrat Texas Senator for District 19. 

These days, however, he’s a little preoccupied. Salacious accusations of squandered money and a sexual affair dominated the U.S. District courtroom.

Wondering what Uresti’s District 19 constituents think about all this? We won’t know that until the 2020 elections roll around.

Republished from TexasMonitor.org, by Kenric Ward, January 19, 2018. Image credit: image not covered by license. Contributor: Kenric Ward.

Kenric Ward

SAN ANTONIO — Jurors in the criminal trial of state Sen. Carlos Uresti say they will put aside allegations of extramarital sex in order to render a verdict on fraud charges against the Democratic lawmaker.

The veteran legislator and co-defendant Gary Cain were indicted last year on 22 counts of wire fraud and money laundering involving FourWinds Logistics, a bankrupt oilfield services company.

Their trial begins Monday in U.S. District Court in San Antonio.

During jury selection on Thursday, defense attorney Tab Turner asked, “Does anybody have a problem sitting on a jury where there are going to be allegations of extramarital sex?”

One prospective juror who said she had “a problem with infidelity” was dismissed from consideration. The 16 seated jurors, including four alternates, did not indicate they had any such qualms.

Denise Cantu, a key witness in the case against Uresti, 54, told investigators she had sexual relations with the legislator. Uresti, who is married, was Cantu’s attorney in a wrongful death case involving two of her children and later enticed the 38-year-old Harlingen woman to invest the proceeds in FourWinds.

Cantu reportedly lost all but $100,000 of her $900,000 investment in the company.

Cantu, who has had her own run-ins with the law, also allegedly engaged in sexual relations with FourWinds CEO Stan Bates. Initially a co-defendant with Uresti and Cain in the fraud trial, Bates pleaded out of the case and is now listed as a prosecution witness.

District Judge David Alan Ezra has ruled that Cantu’s criminal record, unrelated to the FourWinds matter, cannot be admitted into evidence. “There will be no character assassination,” he said.

Uresti has denied Cantu’s claims of a sexual relationship and called her a liar. But his attorneys have also said having sex with a client does not violate rules of professional conduct.

Judge Ezra noted the two-sided defense.

“You’re almost going to have to say, ‘Well, we deny he slept with her on multiple occasions. However, if he did’ (it was not prohibited). That really throws water on the denial,” the judge said.

Turner responded, “We’re certainly not claiming that’s the greatest argument.”

“No, it isn’t,” Ezra said. “The jury could say … if he’s really denying it, that he would deny it. He wouldn’t be going to all this trouble to argue it was OK.”

Turner later suggested that “all this #MeToo stuff going on around the country” has put sexual behavior front and center.

Prosecutors are expected to portray Uresti as a financially strapped politician who used his position to lure investors into FourWinds. Serving as the company’s outside general counsel and escrow agent, he never invested himself, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

At least eight of the 90 prospective jurors were dismissed from the jury pool for expressing the belief that public officials should be held to higher standards of moral and ethical behavior.

Kenric Ward can be reached at kward@texasmonitor.org.

Republished from TexasMonitor.org. CLICK HERE to read the original.


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Kenric Ward
Kenric Ward is a veteran journalist whose work has appeared at Fox News, Houston Chronicle, Washington Times, Washington Examiner, TownHall, Roll Call, and Human Events. An editor and reporter at three Pulitzer Prize-winning newspapers, Ward was Virginia bureau chief for Watchdog.org before relocating to Texas. He earned a bachelor's degree (Phi Beta Kappa) in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles.

2 Responses to "Uresti Fraud Trial Opens With Talk of Money and Sex"

  1. Paula Villagran  January 25, 2018 at 7:07 pm

    He needs to resign. Hope voters kick him out of office.

  2. Claire  January 24, 2018 at 4:47 pm

    Leave it to the dems. The defense, of course a dem, made sure his picks thought infidelity was ok. Dems running true to form. Approve of sex anytime, anyplace, with anyone. Nothing new about that with them. This trial should be interesting.

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