CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) - A judge has dismissed a perjury
charge against an embattled South Texas Democratic donor, saying
the venue was improper.
Visiting Judge Mark Luitjen did not rule yesterday on the
validity of the perjury charge against Mauricio Celis. But the
judge did say it must be brought in Zapata County, the location
where Celis made the statement in question.
The perjury charge stemmed from testimony about whether Celis
has a law degree from a Mexican university.
Also on Monday, Celis pleaded not guilty to charges of money
laundering and impersonating a lawyer. He was indicted on those
charges last week.
Celis owned Corpus Christi-based CGT Law Group International
before coming under public scrutiny after a bizarre incident with
police in September and an ad campaign by another lawyer claiming
Celis was not a licensed attorney. He was indicted last fall on
four felony charges of impersonating a lawyer and a police officer,
perjury and theft and indicted twice more on Friday.
Celis also has been sued by the Texas Unauthorized Practice of
Law Committee and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott for allegedly
practicing law without a license.
Celis has contributed thousands to state and federal candidates,
including the presidential campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton.
Several candidates for state office who accepted campaign cash from
Celis have since donated it to charity.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)