Puerto Rico judge convicted of conspiracy, bribery charges
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Jan. 25, CMC— The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) says a current Puerto Rico Superior Court judge has been convicted by a US federal jury of accepting bribes to acquit a businessman of vehicular homicide charges.
The DOJ said Puerto Rico Superior Court Judge Manuel Acevedo-Hernandez, 62, was convicted following a one-week trial of conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery and receipt of a bribe by an agent of an organization receiving federal funds.
Sentencing is scheduled for April 20 before Chief US District Judge Aida Delgado-Colon of the District of Puerto Rico.
According to evidence at trial, Acevedo-Hernandez presided over a case involving Lutgardo Acevedo-Lopez, 39, a certified public accountant in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.
On June 30, 2012, a car driven by Acevedo-Lopez collided with another car, resulting in the death of the other car’s driver.
Acevedo-Lopez was charged with criminal vehicular homicide in connection with the incident.
Acevedo-Hernandez, a supervisory superior court judge in the Aguadilla judicial region of Puerto Rico, acquitted Acevedo-Lopez of all charges.
The evidence demonstrated that Acevedo-Lopez used an intermediary to bribe Acevedo-Hernandez by paying taxes owed by Acevedo-Hernandez, paying for the construction of a garage for Acevedo-Hernandez, and providing Acevedo-Hernandez with a motorcycle, clothing and accessories, including cufflinks and a watch.
In exchange, Acevedo-Hernandez acquitted Acevedo-Lopez of all charges.
Acevedo-Lopez pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit federal programs bribery and paying a bribe to an agent of an organization receiving federal funds on August 14, 2014.
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