Feds to Farthing: No legal reasons not to stand trial with Uresti in bribery case

Prosecutors fire back at request to separate trials

SAN ANTONIO – Federal prosecutors fired back at a request by Vernon Farthing to separate his upcoming bribery trial from State Sen. Carlos Uresti, who was convicted last month on unrelated federal charges.

Last week, Farthing filed a motion to sever his trial from Uresti's. He claimed information about Uresti's extramarital affairs -- which were revealed during Uresti's trial on charges of fraud and money laundering -- and Uresti's conviction on 11 counts would put him at a disadvantage if he stood trial on bribery charges alongside Uresti.

In response, prosecutors asked a judge to oppose that motion.

"The charges against both defendants are the same, and they are properly charged as co-conspirators," the document said.

Prosecutors also laid out what they described as "two related conspiracies" -- one involving the bribery of former Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo, and the other the laundering of bribe money.

"Galindo was the Reeves County Judge from January 1, 1995, until December 31, 2006. In each of those years, Reeves County received benefits exceeding $10,000 from various Federal programs. During 2005, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") sought submissions for a Criminal Alien Requirement contract for detentions facilities to house federal inmates. The Reeves County Detention Complex is a 400,000 square foot correctional institution located in Pecos, Texas. The Complex consists of three housing units with support buildings for centralized programs (the "R-3 Facility"). The R-3 Facility has a capacity of 1,356 inmates.

On or about June 21, 2005, BOP published a Request for Proposal ("RFP") to house federal inmates. Reeves County, under the leadership of Galindo as County Judge, prepared a submission to BOP to win for Reeves County this contract and house federal inmates in the R-3 facility. On or about May 24, 2006, BOP issued a Contract Award Notice that Reeves County received the contract to house federal criminal aliens at the R-3 Facility. The contract ran through December 31, 2017.

Part of the BOP contract was to provide medical care for the inmates. On or about August 7, 2006, Galindo, Uresti and Farthing met in Reeves County, Texas, to discuss securing the medical care contract to Farthing's company, Physicians Network Association ("PNA") on terms favorable to PNA. In exchange, the group discussed hiring Uresti as a consultant for PNA.

Ultimately, on or about September 13, 2006, Reeves County awarded the medical contract to PNA to provide medical care to the federal inmates who were to be housed in the Facility (the "PNA Contract"). At that time, Farthing was president of PNA and signed the contract on behalf of PNA. Galindo, in his official capacity as Reeves County Judge, negotiated the PNA contract on behalf of Reeves County, presided over the vote on the PNA Contract, and signed the PNA contract on behalf of Reeves County.

In exchange for Galindo's assistance in securing the PNA Contract on terms favorable to PNA, Farthing, through PNA, agreed to hire Uresti as a "consultant" and to pay Uresti approximately $10,000 a month. Uresti, in turn, paid approximately (half) of these payments to Galindo. Uresti was paid by PNA (and its successor companies) until on or about September 30, 2016. Uresti dutifully paid approximately (half) of these payments to Galindo throughout this time."

Prosecutors challenged Farthing's claims that his rights would be violated by a joint trial with Uresti, arguing the pair are charged in the same conspiracy and that "the charges are the same ... and the evidence will be substantially the same against both defendants."

A date for a judge to rule on the severance issue has not yet been set. The case is set for trial in May.

In a separate case, Galindo pleaded guilty to charges of bribery and failing to file a tax return. He is scheduled to be sentenced in June.

Gary Cain, a consultant for the Four Winds company, was convicted with Uresti last week on fraud and money laundering charges. A third co-defendant, Stanley Bates, has pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering charges. The trio were convicted of a Ponzi scheme in which they brought investors into a company that claimed to sell hydraulic fracking sand for oil production. Instead, the money was used to pay earlier investors and for various personal expenses. All three face up to 20 years in prison for each count. Uresti and Cain are expected back in court for sentencing June 28.

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