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Ex-Texas Lawmaker Says He Bribed Judge

(CN) - A former Texas state representative pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting extortion by a state judge, who accepted bribes from attorneys for favorable rulings. Jose Solis admitted he bribed state Judge Abel Limas with $8,000, which they referred to as eight "golf balls."

Jose Santiago "Jim" Solis, 47, of Harlingen, pleaded guilty to a one-count criminal information before U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, in Brownsville.

Limas pleaded guilty in March to one count of racketeering. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

Solis, a personal injury attorney, represented District 38 in the Texas House for seven terms before retiring from the Legislature in 2007.

At his hearing on Friday, Solis helping Limas use his judgeship of the 404th District Court as a criminal enterprise to enrich himself through extortion.

Prosecutors said Limas accepted money and other stuff from attorneys in civil cases, including Solis, in return for favorable pre-trial rulings.

Solis admitted paying Limas $8,000 in May 2008 in a case involving a helicopter crash at South Padre Island.

As part of his plea agreement, Solis agreed to forfeit $250,000 to the government. Sentencing is set before Hanen on Aug. 1. Solis was expected to be released on bond pending the sentencing hearing.

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