Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr. issued this statement regarding the case.
The Hidalgo County District Attorney’s office is moving to dismiss the charges against the remaining defendants who were accused of voting illegally in the 2017 Edinburg election as part of a larger voter fraud scheme that at one point included the former mayor.
State prosecutors filed several motions Wednesday to dismiss the charges against 16 people who were accused of voting illegally, some of whom were also charged with participating in organized election fraud.
A judge had not made a ruling on the motions as of press time.
The move to drop their charges were done “in the interest of justice,” according to the charges. District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr. did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The motions to dismiss follow the acquittal of former Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina who was elected to office during that race.
He was charged with one count of engaging in organized voter fraud and 11 counts of illegal voting, but a jury found him not guilty of all charges at the conclusion of his trial in August.
Molina’s defense attorneys successfully argued a “mistake of law” defense, asserting that Molina made a reasonable mistake based on what he’d learned of the law from official government sources.
With Molina’s acquittal, the district attorney’s office then moved to dismiss the case against Julio Carranza, Molina’s former business partner, who had testified against Molina during the trial.
Carranza had been charged with engaging in organized election fraud and two counts of illegal voting, but those were officially dropped on Sept. 30.
The 16 individuals whose cases the district attorney’s office is seeking to dismiss included Dalia Molina, Richard Molina’s wife.
She’s charged with one count of engaging in organized election fraud and two counts of illegal voting.
The other 15 individuals include the following.
>> Jose Antonio Vela II
>> Daniel Castillo
>> Alyssa R. Cano
>> Ludivina Leal
>> Rosendo Rodriguez
>> Veronica Vela Saenz
>> Maria S. Aleman
>> Cynthia Tamez
>> Ruby Tamez
>> Crystal Lee Ponce
>> Guadalupe Sanchez Garza
>> Araceli Montoya Gutierrez
>> Belinda Rodriguez
>> Brenda Rodriguez
>> Felisha Yolanda Rodriguez
They are each charged with one count of illegal voting while Montoya Gutierrez has an additional charge of engaging in organized election fraud.