Mayor Arrested for Voter Fraud Scheme in Texas
Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina charged with orchestrating illegal voting scheme
Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina has been arrested in Texas for orchestrating an illegal voter fraud scheme, the attorney general's office has announced.
Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina and his wife, Dalia, have been charged for voter fraud, Texas AG Ken Paxton announced Thursday.
In what Paxton described as “an organized illegal voting scheme” during the November 2017 municipal election that brought Molina to power, the charges are the latest in a string of related arrests made by the state’s election fraud unit.
According to a press release from the Paxton’s office, Molina directed voters to change their listed residence to false addresses — including an apartment building owned by Molina — so they could cast a fraudulent vote for him.
BREAKING: Mayor of Edinburg has been arrested for voter fraud.— Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) April 25, 2019
Voter fraud is an affront to democracy and places the decision-making authority of the Texas electorate in the hands of those who have no right to make those choices. https://t.co/MfeE1i6v81
Unseating incumbent Mayor Richard Garcia in the South Texas town, Molina - hailed as an “anti-establishment” outsider - won the election by 1,240 votes.
Molina and his wife turned themselves in Thursday morning and he received a $20,000 cash bond for three illegal voting charges, one of them a first-degree felony, according to local reports.
According to the Texas Tribune, a total of 18 people have been arrested in connection with the scheme, the attorney general’s office revealed.
Through spokespeople, Molina maintained his innocence.
“My client and his wife are victims of a power struggle,” attorney Carlos A. Garcia of Mission, who represents Richard Molina, told a local newspaper Thursday.
“We intend to fight these charges, and both of them are absolutely innocent of what the state alleges.”
City spokeswoman Cary Zayas said Molina “very adamantly denies any wrongdoing” and added that “the city is supportive of the mayor.”
Molina, who could not immediately be reached for comment, released a Facebook video last year dismissing the investigation as politically motivated.
The formal voter fraud complaint that sparked the investigation, Molina claimed in the video, was filed by a political enemy who holds a “political vendetta against me.”
“Why have local authorities only targeted people who supported me?” Molina questioned.
“The people of Edinburg voted loud and clear in November 2017.
"They voted for change. They voted for me. …
"A handful of weak accusations will not change the outcome.”