Federal judge tells Uresti he needs new attorney

Judge cites conflict of interest in ruling to remove Mikal Watts

SAN ANTONIO – A federal judge in San Antonio on Monday ruled that an attorney representing Sen. Carlos Uresti in his conspiracy and bribery case will need to recuse himself, citing a conflict of interest.

The judge agreed with prosecutors that Uresti's attorney, Mikal Watts, needs to remove himself from the case because Watts' law office handled a wrongful death lawsuit for a woman who won millions in the case and ended up investing money in an alleged Ponzi scheme that Uresti is accused of being involved in.

"I have one of the best, if not the best, attorney in the country. And I hope to be able to keep him," Uresti said after the hearing.

Related: Sen. Carlos Uresti indicted for wire fraud, other crimes

Watts said he plans to appeal the ruling.

"We believe that a case involving the constitutional rights to one's counsel of choice. That in a case that is so close. It's the most exceedingly difficult case you've ever handled. That should weigh in factor of keeping somebody as counsel of choice," Watts said.

Related: Sen. Carlos Uresti turns himself in to FBI

Uresti was indicted by a federal grand jury in May. The senator was charged with wire fraud, securities fraud, engaging in monetary transactions with property derived from specified unlawful activity, and being an unregistered securities broker.


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