State Commission on Judicial Conduct suspends Rio Grande Valley judge
McAllen
   
 
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McALLEN — The State Commission on Judicial Conduct has suspended state District Judge Rodolfo “Rudy” Delgado without pay following his indictment on bribery and violating the federal Travel Act.

The commission said its order is effective immediately.

Mark Howerton, 22, was jailed Wednesday, Feb. 28, in connection with the death of Cayley Mandadi, a 19-year-old former cheerleader at Trinity University.

Federal investigators allege that Delgado, 64, accepted bribes between November 2016 and January of this year in exchange for favorable judicial consideration on cases pending in his court. Delgado was charged with three counts of bribery and three counts of violating the Travel Act on allegations that he used a phone to broker the alleged bribes, according to the indictment.

The first bribe allegedly occurred in December 2016, when an attorney paid Delgado $260 in exchange for releasing the attorney’s client on a personal bond, the indictment alleges. The attorney paid Delgado $260 in cash again in November 2017, and the judge released another client from the Hidalgo County Jail on a personal bond, the indictment alleges.

A third bribe allegedly occurred in January, when the attorney, wearing audio and video recording devices, gave Delgado $5,500 in cash. In all three cases Delgado released the attorney’s clients on bond, according to the indictment.

In late January, investigators say Delgado sent a text message to the confidential source about the envelope containing $5,500, attempting to cover up the bribe by referring to it as a contribution, according to court documents. Delgado had solicited campaign contributions from the confidential source in the past.

Working with the confidential source for more than a year, the FBI recorded phone calls and meetings between the attorney and Delgado.

Delgado, who was elected to serve as a state district judge for the 93rd Judicial District in consecutive terms since 2004, had been campaigning for a place on the 13th Court of Appeals.

Delgado has been free on a $100,000 bond since his initial appearance last month in federal court in McAllen. His arraignment is schedule for later this month in Houston before U.S. Magistrate Judge Christina A. Bryan.

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