Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, former San Antonio mayors Julián Castro and Henry Cisneros, and a bevy of the San Antonio political glitterati are on a list of 133 people who might be called on Democratic state Sen. Carlos Uresti’s behalf in his criminal fraud trial scheduled to begin Monday.
The news on the mile-long witness list was broken by the San Antonio Express-News, and the list also includes Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, Bexar County district judges Solomon Casseb III and Peter Sakai, Bexar County Probate Judge Tom Rickhoff, and Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood.
[I]t’s presumed that most of those prominent individuals, if called, would testify to Uresti’s veracity or as character witnesses.
“It may be as simple as posturing (to list all of these prominent individuals as potential witnesses), but it could be a serious attempt by the defense to try to get as many people with good characters, who are well-known in the community, to come in” and testify, said Miguel Najera, a San Antonio criminal defense lawyer who is not involved in the case. “Because these people are going to have more gravitas, they are going to have a larger affect on either a judge or a jury when they are testifying in favor of an accused.”
A jury may pay more attention to those individuals’ testimony and give more weight to it because they are known in the community, he said.
Uresti is facing 11 felony charges, including wire and securities fraud, conspiracy, and acting as an unregistered securities broker in connection with his involvement in a now-defunct oil field services company.
A federal grand jury in May indicted Uresti, who has denied the charges, which prosecutors allege include a Ponzi scheme.
Trent Seibert can be reached at [email protected] or at 832-258-6119.