A former Republican congressman in Texas has been convicted of 23 felonies for defrauding two conservative mega-donors of $1.25 million. Steve Stockman was convicted by a jury in a federal court in Houston Thursday afternoon of all but one of the charges against him. It took the12-person jury 16 hours of deliberation to find Stockman guilty, his defense team is planning to appeal the verdict.
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"Mr. Stockman is keeping his head up and we're looking forward to getting through to the next stage of this," Sean Buckley, a defense attorney for Stockman said. The former congressman served two nonconsecutive terms before losing in 2104 to U.S. Senator John Cornyn. Stockman was taken into federal custody by U.S. Marshals where he will stay due to being a "flight risk", according to the prosecution.
The new U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Texas and the son of Governor Dan Patrick, Ryan Patrick, was present at Stockman's proceedings. "When public officials use their office to defraud donors and violate federal law, we will hold them accountable," Patrick said. "Corrupt officials like former congressman Stockman make it harder for the honest ones to do their jobs."
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Stockman's attorneys said in his defense, "There has been so much rhetoric publicly about Congressman Stockman and his political views. We’re in such a politically charged environment that I can’t say I’m surprised by anything. But I am disappointed and I don’t think it’s the right result." If the verdict is upheld on appeal, the conviction would prevent Stockman from seeking Texas office since they are felonies.
The U.S. Constitution, however, does not prevent convicted felons from seeking election to Congress. Two former aides of Stockman were also charged, Thomas Dodd and Jason Posey. Both men pleaded guilty and testified against him in return for lighter sentences.
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