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Cobos Challenged FBI To ‘Show Results’ When Agents Raided Courthouse

When FBI agents swarmed the office of then County Judge Anthony Cobos, on May 15, 2007, the elected official challenged the agency.

“If they have something to show, then back it up. And if they seize documents, then, then produce some results.”

Those results may have come four years later, when the FBI arrested Cobos at his home early Friday morning. Cobos has always maintained his innocence.

“I challenge the FBI. If you have something to show, then show it. If that’s not the case, then they need to send out some letters exonerating some people. It’s as simple as that,” he also said the day of the raid in May, 2007.

That day four years ago was the first time the federal public corruption case came to public light. Dozens of FBI agents sifted through Cobos’ office, as well as the offices of then County Commissioners Miguel Teran and Luis Sarinana.

The next year, in December, 2008, Cobos even held a public news conference outside of the El Paso Times, after their editorial board wrote an opinion piece suggesting the resignation of Cobos. “I have not been called by any federal agency, I’ve not talked to any federal agency to this point, a year and a half later … But I think that they would rather have this hanging over my head,” he told reporters then.

Federal prosecutors allege that during 2007, Cobos accepted bribes in the form of cash money and other benefits, including campaign contributions to El Paso City Council candidates he supported, in exchange for his vote and influence in refinancing approximately $40 million of El Paso County debt and to terminate the then El Paso County financial adviser’s contract and replace with another company.

No county elected officials were available at the courthouse when ABC-7 stopped by to gather reaction on the arrest. ABC-7 did coincidentally run into Mayor John Cook. “This case has been going on for over four years now, and the timing – a week before Christmas, you have three or four people arrested — it sure shows a lack of courtesy or sympathy, they could have waited until the week after christmas, give him a new year’s present,” he said.

The mayor also said it’s important to remember an arrest does not equal a conviction. “I would encourage people just to wait and see who’s guilty in a court of law, not in a court of public opinion,” he said in an interview.

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