Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar declares innocence amid report of incoming indictment

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, asserted his innocence in an announcement Friday after NBC News reported federal investigators have been planning to indict the longtime congressman.

The nature of the potential indictment stays unclear, thought Cuellar’s assertion suggests his spouse can be a goal. FBI brokers raided Cuellar’s Laredo residence and workplace in 2022 — simply weeks earlier than his aggressive main election. His lawyer on the time asserted he was not the goal of the investigation. ABC News reported shortly after that the investigation was associated to Cuellar, his spouse and one of his marketing campaign staffers and their alleged ties to Azerbaijan. Cuellar is a member of the Congressional Azerbaijan Caucus.

In his Friday assertion, Cuellar mentioned his actions have been “consistent with the actions of many of my colleagues and in the interest of the American people.”

“I want to be clear that both my wife and I are innocent of these allegations,” Cuellar mentioned with out addressing what the allegations have been about. “Before I took any action, I proactively sought legal advice from the House Ethics Committee, who gave me more than one written opinion, along with an additional opinion from a national law firm.”

The Texas Tribune and several other nationwide information organizations requested a federal court to unseal the search warrant in 2022.

Cuellar added that he’ll nonetheless run for reelection in November.

The 2022 search by federal investigators on Cuellar’s residence got here just a few weeks earlier than a aggressive main in opposition to progressive candidate Jessica Cisneros, a Laredo-based immigration legal professional. He ended up profitable within the main by 0.6 proportion factors.

Cuellar is the fourth-longest serving Democrat within the Texas delegation and is a longtime fixture within the House Democratic Caucus. He is understood for often crossing the aisle to vote with Republicans, together with votes reflecting his private aversion to abortion and in help of stricter border safety. He is the one Democrat within the House who opposes abortion rights.

He can be a significant proponent of the oil and fuel business, which is answerable for a big half of his district’s financial system. Azerbaijan is a significant oil and fuel producer.

Still, he’s effectively revered inside the Democratic Caucus for his prolific fundraising and reliability on main votes that depend. Democratic management underneath Speaker Nancy Pelosi supported Cuellar when Cisneros challenged him within the 2020 and 2022 primaries. Cuellar gained in each primaries and the 2022 basic election, regardless of heavy funding from Republicans to flip South Texas. He beat his 2022 Republican opponent, Cassy Garcia, by over 13 factors.

Two Republican challengers will face off in a May 28 runoff for the possibility to problem Cuellar within the basic: Jay Furman and Lazaro Garzo. After Cuellar’s 2022 win, Republicans have thought of the district much less aggressive and are investing extra closely within the close by Rio Grande Valley-based fifteenth and thirty fourth districts.

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