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State Sen. Carlos Uresti Makes First Court Appearance For Federal Charges

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio
State Senator Carlos Uresti leaves San Antonio's federal courthouse on Wednesday

State Senator Carlos Uresti says he’s innocent of fraud, bribery and money laundering charges that could bring him a 200-year prison sentence if convicted on all charges.  The San Antonio Democrat appeared before a federal judge this morning.

Federal agents handcuffed State Senator Uresti and led him into a court room where a judge read the charges against him. 

They stem from an investigation into a bankrupt company known as Four Winds.  The Justice Department accuses Uresti and others of running a Ponzi scheme where he marketed fracking sand for oil production to investors who lost money. Uresti faces a second indictment for conspiracy to commit bribery to secure a medical services contract for a prison in Reeves County. 

He told reporters he’ll plead not guilty.

“Although my lawyers have asked me not to talk to the press, I think it’s very important that I tell the people that I am innocent of these charges. I look forward to my day in court when all the facts come out,” Uresti said

Mikal Watts is Uresti’s attorney.

“We are going to work diligently to prove that to a jury of his peers and I believe you’ll all be here watching him walk out free of all these charges,” Watts said.

Uresti was released Wednesday on a $50,000 personal appearance bond. He had to surrender his passport and is not allowed to leave the United States.   He said he doesn’t plan to resign his Senate job.

“I’m heading back to Austin today to finish the job that I was elected to do.”

Uresti will appear in federal court for a formal arrangement on May 31st.

Below are the indictments against State Sen. Uresti

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules