As many of you already know, former El Paso County Assistant District Attorney Antonio Reyes was indicted by a federal grand jury charging him with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. According to the FBI’s media release dated November 12, 2013 the government alleges that “Reyes conspired with others through text messaging to accept cash bribes in exchange for dismissing pending criminal charges”.
As this is only the first step in a legal process we do not have all of the facts yet. However the local media doesn’t bother to ask the important questions and instead gives District Attorney Jaime Esparza an easy out about the various issues this indictment raises.
In a town where public corruption is the norm, instead of the exception the first important question that should be asked of Jaime Esparza is “how many public corruption investigations have you initiated, investigated and prosecuted?”
If the answer is one, or two then the original question needs to be followed with a simple “why”?
Think about it for a moment; why has the district attorney been absent from the numerous public corruption investigations? Is it plain incompetence or is it something else?
The next question that should be asked is; “what kind of mechanism do you have in your office to control official abuse?” This question should be followed with; “if Reyes is found guilty of public corruption do you plan on holding his supervisors’ in your office responsible?”
More importantly, bribing requires at least two individuals to accomplish; the giver and the taker. According to the federal indictment, Antonio Reyes is alleged to have accepted bribes, therefore allegedly we know who might be the taker. The question now becomes who was, or were the givers? If it was one, has the individual turned State’s evidence? If more than one then the community needs to know who they are.
Who were the attorneys that offered the bribes? Are they still practicing law?
These are important questions for a community engulfed in public corruption scandals yet the local media is content with reporting the sound bites uttered by the local district attorney and regurgitate the news media releases issued by the federal investigators.
Is the media’s inability to produce investigative reports the reason why public corruption scandals in El Paso are a normal occurrence?
I firmly believe so because people that should be held accountable are never identified by the inept local news media.