Chief of staff for House Democrat resigns following federal indictment

 May 7, 2024

Fox News reported late last week that Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar and his wife were both indicted by federal authorities on a slew of criminal charges.

According to Breitbart, the beleaguered congressman's chief of staff stepped down just days after his boss' indictment. 

Haley Talbot announces his resignation

In a social media post put up on Monday, CNN Capitol Hill correspondent Haley Talbot identified the departing chief of staff as being Jacob Hochberg.

Talbot's resignation is only the latest in a series of problems for Cuellar that began in 2022 when his home was raided by FBI agents in January of 2022.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) released a press release this past Friday explaining that Cuellar and his wife Imelda have been charged with "participating in two schemes involving bribery, unlawful foreign influence, and money laundering."

Alleged scheme involved Azerbaijan and a Mexican bank

It alleged that the pair "accepted approximately $600,000 in bribes from two foreign entities: an oil and gas company wholly owned and controlled by the Government of Azerbaijan, and a bank headquartered in Mexico City."

Those funds are then said to have been laundered via "sham consulting contracts" which involved "a series of front companies and middlemen."

The money was allegedly a reward for Cuellar influencing "U.S. foreign policy in favor of Azerbaijan" as well as promoting measures which were favorable to the Mexican bank.

Cuellar and his wife face two counts of conspiracy to commit bribery of a federal official and to have a public official act as an agent of a foreign principal required to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)."

They have also been charged with two counts of bribery of a federal official, two counts of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud, five counts of money laundering, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

House minority leader praises Cuellar's record

Despite the charges, Cuellar is continuing to receive support from leading Democrats in Washington, including House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.

Jeffries was quoted by The Texas Tribune as saying that Cuellar "has admirably devoted his career to public service and is a valued Member of the House Democratic Caucus."

"Like any American, Congressman Cuellar is entitled to his day in court and the presumption of innocence throughout the legal process," Jeffries went on to add.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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