Defense: Here's Why Former San Angelo Police Chief Tim Vasquez is "Not Guilty"
SAN ANGELO, TX — Former San Angelo Police Chief Tim Vasquez pleaded not guilty this morning in Lubbock to federal corruption charges. He is accused by the feds of accepting $134,000 in bribes paid through hiring his band, Funky Munky, in return for advocating for “Vendor 1” to be awarded $13 million in contracts for a new public safety radio system for the City of San Angelo over about 10 years.
Vasquez’s attorney, David Guinn of Lubbock, talked exclusively to San Angelo LIVE! Friday afternoon.
Guinn was emphatic, “I believe in Tim’s innocence.”
Guinn said he was not just filling a square providing Vasquez defense representation as a constitutional exercise. “This is a circumstantial case where the prosecutor will need to infer guilt,” he said. The defense attorney holds a degree from Baylor Law School and his partner is Daniel W. Hurley. Both attorneys sat on the defense counsel’s side for Ray Zapata and John Young during the John Sullivan will forgery trials.
“Everybody knew Tim had a nine-piece band and it was not free,” Guinn said. “And they were still cheaper than many of the San Antonio bands that didn’t have to travel three hours to San Antonio to perform.” Guinn suggested that the San Antonio companies mentioned in the indictment were hiring Funky Munky because the San Angelo musicians were a good value, not because Vasquez was advocating for the $13 million San Angelo radio contract in exchange for the vendor to hire his band.
However, Vasquez didn’t disclose to the San Angelo City Council that Daily & Wells, the presumed “Vendor 1,” was hiring his band on the side when he was also advocating for the City to hire the radio vendor.
Guinn’s position is that may be unethical, but it’s not a federal offense where Vasquez faces up to 70 years in federal prison if found guilty.
“I’m not aware of a penal statute that required Vasquez to do that” Guinn said. Besides, “Tim was just one voice in a committee of 12 people recommending Dailey & Wells.”
Guinn also pointed out there were two parties to a bribe — the party offering the bribe and the party receiving it. Both sides of the transaction could be guilty of a crime, he said. So far, there is no indictment of the party offering the bribe, Guinn argued.
“We intend to defend this case with everything we have,” Guinn said. “It’s a complicated case.”
Guinn said there is a significant amount of discovery to be accomplished before trial. This afternoon, the judge granted a motion to declare the Vasquez case “complex litigation.” The judge set the trial date for Oct. 19, 2020.
Timothy Ray Vasquez, 49, was charged in federal court on Jan. 8 with one count of receipt of a bribe by an agent of an organization receiving federal funds and three counts of honest services mail fraud.
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