Brownsville school board member accused of bribery appears before court


Brownsville school board vice president Sylvia Atkinson appeared in court Friday for a motion hearing related to her indictment on bribery charges in December.

The Brownsville Herald reported that most of the proceedings before U.S. District Judge Fernando Rodriguez Jr. were closed to the public. The hearing apparently related to a motion filed under seal by prosecutors on Jan. 16, the newspaper reported. The judge granted Atkinson’s attorneys the ability to oppose the government motion, the newspaper reported.

Atkinson is accused of using her position for personal gain. The indictment alleges she solicited and accepted a $10,000 bribe from an undercover FBI agent posing as an employee of an advertising and film production company that enlisted her help getting a film production proposal placed on the school board’s Feb. 12 meeting agenda. She has pleaded not guilty.

The Herald reported that government prosecutors told Rodriguez on Friday that “complex legal issues” pertaining to a motion filed by Atkinson’s attorneys, Noe Garza and Dale Robertson, may require more time to study before trial.

Rodriguez set Atkinson’s trial for April 6, noting the parties’ request for time to prepare due to the complexity of the case.


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