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Judge Charged With Taking Bribes, Claimed to Be Campaign Contributions

Judge Rodolfo 'Rudy' Delgado said it was a campaign contribution.

Sure, he took $5,500 in cash from a criminal defense lawyer. But they had worked together for years, and all the attorney wanted from the judge was a little help on a case.

"In America we have the presumption of innocence and I intend to let the judicial process take its course," Delgado told reporters after his arraignment on bribery charges.

Source Confessed

Presumptions aside, it doesn't look good for the Texas judge. He was released on $100,000 bond, but the criminal complaint suggests he will be back soon.

An affidavit says the FBI had been investigating Delgado for a year. An unidentified source confessed to bribing the judge as far back as 2008.

The source, a criminal defense attorney, also cooperated with FBI agents. They were watching when the lawyer gave the judge $5,500 in an envelope to fix a case. Delgado texted the attorney about it the next day.

"The campaign contribution needs to be by check," Delgado said. "Sorry about the confusion, I thought you knew and I did not open the envelope till today."

Cash Contribution

Special agent Peter Kilpatrick said the judge was trying to cover up the crime. He said the envelope -- filled with fifty $100 bills and twenty-five $20 bills -- was too thick to be mistaken for a check.

FBI agents arrested Delgado, then searched his office and home. He faces up to 10 years in federal prison if convicted.

In the realm of judges gone bad recently, Delgado's $5,500 bribery case is relatively small potatoes. Last year, a Kentucky lawyer was convicted after paying a judge $10,000 a month for six years in a $550 million fraud case.

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