San Benito mayor’s trial begins

San Benito mayor's trial begins

By FERNANDO DEL VALLE Valley Morning Star

SAN BENITO — Jury selection is set for Monday in the trial of San Benito Mayor Joe Hernandez, whom a former city commissioner accused of making a terroristic threat.

Selection of a six-member jury is expected to begin about 9:30 a.m. before Cameron County Court at Law No. 1 Judge Arturo McDonald, said Melissa Zamora, the DA’s spokeswoman.

The trial, originally set for Sept. 16, has been postponed twice.

Hernandez, who has declined comment on the case, pleaded not guilty to the Class B misdemeanor charge in a July 31 arraignment.

Raynaldo Rodriguez, Hernandez’s attorney, called the case “politically motivated.”

“We’re extremely confident with our defense,” Rodriguez said Friday. “The mayor has made it abundantly clear that this is a political witch hunt. There’s a certain group of people who want him out — want him to resign — and some people will take any means to make that happen.”

Ricardo Rodriguez, who served as a city commissioner from 1975 to 1979, declined comment.

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Dina Arevalo Valley Morning Star

San Benito Mayor Joe Hernandez, left, walks out of the Cameron County Courthouse Thursday morning in Brownsville. Hernandez was scheduled to be arraigned on charges of abuse of official capacity and tampering or fabricating with evidence.

The case stems from Ricardo Rodriguez’s complaint that accused Hernandez of making a terroristic threat in October 2012.

Ricardo Rodriguez filed a complaint with the San Benito Police Department, accusing Hernandez of threatening to burn down his home and kill him during an Oct. 27 confrontation.

The outcome of the case will not affect an agreement in which prosecutors ordered Hernandez to stay out of trouble during a one-year probationary period that stems from an October 2012 two-count indictment in an unrelated case, Zamora said.

Zamora said Ricardo Rodriguez’s case will not influence Hernandez’s December 2012 agreement because…Continued here: http://www.brownsvilleherald.com/news/local/article_cbb6fde2-39f6-11e3-a54f-001a4bcf6878.html

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