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Update: Former county judge sentenced to four years in bribery scheme
By: Gina Benitez
EL PASO, Texas -- Former El Paso County Judge Anthony Cobos and co-defendant Lorenzo Aguilar, a local architect, were sentenced to four years in federal prison Friday.
Both men asked for leniency but the presiding judge had little sympathy.
"I just want to encourage all El Pasoans who are having family problems, who are having difficulty finding a job, difficulty with your marriage, it's OK to pray, it's OK to pray because there's a day after tomorrow," Cobos said Friday afternoon after his sentencing.
We spoke to him when he was first under investigation by federal authorities and he sang a very different tune.
"The FBI should really come up with some findings. I think that if they have something to show, then back it up," Cobos said years ago.
In September both pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and deprivation.
Friday, both Cobos and Aguilar were each sentenced to four years in federal prison for their part in a public corruption scheme.
"I just want to say that I'm a better person as a result of this. God is good. God is a forgiving God. I fled back into the arms of the God I knew back in 1997," Cobos said.
Cobos accepted cash bribes in exchange for his vote and influence as county judge.
Aguilar was part of a group that agreed to pay Cobos if he supported a specific contract to refinance $40 million of county debt.
We tried to get Aguilar's reaction to today's sentencing, but he had no comment.
Cobos did speak to us but wouldn't answer any specific questions.
"Even though this is going to be really painful for me and my family, things happen for a reason. Often out of our own being," Cobos said.
Aguilar received a $50,000 fine while Cobos received a $10,000 fine. The two have 30 days to self-surrender, court officials said.
"The sentences handed down today should reassure the public that we will be relentless in pursuing those who would attempt to corrupt public officials as well as those public officials who violate their public trust for personal gain," stated U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman.