Judge Delgado heads to prison
HOUSTON – A Texas state district judge has been ordered to federal prison following his multiple convictions of conspiracy, bribery and obstructing justice, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick and Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
A federal jury in Houston convicted Rodolfo “Rudy” Delgado, 66, of Edinburg, July 11, following a six-day trial of one count of conspiracy, three counts of federal program bribery, three counts of travel act bribery and one count of obstruction of justice.
Today, U.S. District Judge Alfred Bennett handed Delgado a 60-month sentence to be immediately followed by two years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court heard additional evidence and testimony that detailed the value of the bribery activities and its impact on South Texas. In handing down the sentence, the court noted that a corrupt judge, who abuses the trust the public placed in him to enrich himself, undermines the integrity of the entire criminal justice system and tears at the very fabric of our society.
“The sentencing of Delgado sends a strong message to any public official who chooses to serve him or herself rather than their community,” said Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs of the FBI’s San Antonio Division. “As this case illustrates, the FBI will tirelessly pursue those who betray the public trust. We can only hold corrupt officials accountable if people refuse to accept this behavior and are willing to cooperate and come forward with information.”
Delgado was a justice in the 13th Court of Appeals for the State of Texas, having been elected in November 2018. He resigned from that positon following his conviction.
Prior to that, he was previously the presiding judge for the 93rd District Court for the State of Texas, which has jurisdiction over Texas criminal and civil cases located within Hidalgo County. As a district judge, Delgado conspired with an attorney from January 2008 to November 2016 to accept bribes in exchange for favorable judicial consideration on criminal cases pending in his courtroom.
As part of the investigation, Delgado also accepted bribes on three separate occasions in exchange for agreeing to release three of the attorney’s clients on bond in cases pending before his court. The first two bribes totaled approximately $520 in cash and the third bribe - in January 2018 - totaled approximately $5,500.
After Delgado learned of the FBI’s investigation, he also attempted to obstruct justice by contacting the attorney and providing a false story about the payments.
Previously released on bond, Delgado was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The FBI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Arthur R. Jones and Robert Guerra are prosecuting the case along with Trial Attorney Peter Nothstein of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section.