Democratic Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar indicted by DOJ on conspiracy and bribery charges


The Department of Justice indicted Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas on conspiracy and bribery charges Friday. 

Cuellar’s wife Imelda has also been indicted in the investigation connected to $600,000 in bribes they allegedly accepted between 2014 and 2021 from an Azerbaijan-based energy company and a bank in Mexico City to advance the former Soviet republic’s interests in the U.S. 

Cuellar and his wife have been released on bond, Fox News has confirmed. 

The Cuellars are accused in two schemes involving bribery, unlawful foreign influence and money laundering, the unsealed indictment from the Southern District of Texas said. 

FEDERAL GRAND JURY SUBPOENAS REP. CUELLAR, WIFE, AND ASSOCIATES IN AZERBAIJAN-TIED PROBE: REPORT

Henry Cuellar

Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, is seen outside a meeting of the House Democratic Caucus in the U.S. Capitol. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Federal law enforcement raided Cuellar’s house and office in 2022 as part of an investigation into a group of U.S. businessmen, and their ties to the country. The representative and his office agreed to cooperate with the investigation.

Cuellar released a statement on Friday following reports of the upcoming indictment, declaring both himself and his wife as innocent without specifying the charges.

“I want to be clear that both my wife and I are innocent of these allegations,” wrote Cuellar. “Everything I have done in Congress has been to serve the people of Texas.”

REP. CUELLAR, STAFF TOOK SPONSORED TRIPS TO AZERBAIJAN COORDINATED BY CONVICTED BUSINESSMAN

The Texas representative specifically defended his wife and her qualifications, once again without specifying the nature of the indictments.

Department of Justice logo

A podium displays the seal of the Department of Justice at the department’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

“Imelda and I have been married 32 years. On top of being an amazing wife and mother, she’s an accomplished businesswoman with two degrees. She spent her career working with banking, tax, and consulting. The allegation that she is anything but qualified and hard working is both wrong and offensive,” he wrote.

Cuellar and his wife, 68 and 67, made their first court appearance on Friday in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Dena Palermo in Houston.

“The bribe payments were allegedly laundered, pursuant to sham consulting contracts, through a series of front companies and middlemen into shell companies owned by Imelda Cuellar, who performed little to no legitimate work under the contracts,” the DOJ said of the indictments. “In exchange for the bribes paid by the Azerbaijani oil and gas company, Congressman Cuellar allegedly agreed to use his office to influence U.S. foreign policy in favor of Azerbaijan. In exchange for the bribes paid by the Mexican bank, Congressman Cuellar allegedly agreed to influence legislative activity and to advise and pressure high-ranking U.S. Executive Branch officials regarding measures beneficial to the bank.”

They each 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, two counts of bribery of a federal official, two counts of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud, two counts of violating the ban on public officials acting as agents of a foreign principal, one count of conspiracy to commit concealment money laundering, and five counts of money laundering. 

If convicted, they could face more than 20 years in prison. 

Cuellar previously served as a co-chair of the Congressional Azerbaijan Caucus.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report. 



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