Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar Indicted on Bribery and Conspiracy Charges

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Democratic U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar of Texas and his wife, Imelda Cuellar, were indicted on charges of conspiracy and bribery related to their dealings with Azerbaijan and a bank in Mexico. The couple was taken into custody on Friday following a U.S. Department of Justice investigation.

Details of the Allegations

The indictment alleges that from 2014 to 2021, the Cuellars accepted nearly $600,000 in bribes from an Azerbaijan-controlled energy company and a bank in Mexico. In return, Cuellar reportedly agreed to advance the interests of Azerbaijan and the bank within the United States, including influencing legislation and delivering speeches favorable to Azerbaijan on the floor of the U.S. House.

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Legal Proceedings and Bonds

After surrendering to authorities, the Cuellars made their initial court appearance in Houston and were released on a $100,000 bond each. The charges against them include bribery and conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, acting as agents of foreign principals, and money laundering. If convicted, the Cuellars could face decades in prison and might have to forfeit any property linked to the proceeds of the alleged scheme.

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Response from Henry Cuellar

In a statement released Friday, Congressman Cuellar maintained his and his wife’s innocence, asserting that his actions in Congress were always in the interest of serving the people of South Texas. He mentioned seeking guidance from the House Ethics Committee and a national law firm before taking actions related to the allegations. Cuellar also expressed frustration over not being given a chance to discuss the case with Washington D.C. prosecutors.

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Background and Context

This indictment comes after the FBI conducted a search of Cuellar’s Laredo residence in 2022, which was reportedly part of a broader investigation involving Azerbaijan. Cuellar, known for his moderate political stance and being one of the last anti-abortion Democrats in Congress, narrowly won his last primary race against progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros in 2022.

This case highlights significant issues regarding foreign influence and corruption within U.S. politics, raising questions about the integrity of elected officials and the transparency of their foreign dealings. As the legal process unfolds, more details are expected to emerge about the extent of the Cuellars’ involvement with foreign entities and the implications for Cuellar’s political future.

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