Anthony Cobos' defense may not argue selective prosecution, despite uncharged individuals

POSTED: 08:42 PM MDT Aug 12, 2013    UPDATED: 08:57 PM MDT Aug 12, 2013 
EL PASO, Texas -

Court records filed Monday indicate there are people who committed the same offense as former County Judge Anthony Cobos, but they were not charged.

According to an order issued by federal Judge Frank Montalvo, defense attorneys for Cobos and Lorenzo Aguilar, his co-defendant, may not accuse government attorneys of selective prosecution, nor can they talk about people who have not been charged, even though those people, presumably, participated in public corruption.

According to the ruling, the prosecution may call those witnesses to the stand to aid its case, but defense attorneys may not, unless they get clearance from the judge.

"Selective prosecution is strictly a matter for the court and should not be discussed in the presence of the jury. As such, the court will bar any mention or evidence of selective prosecution to the jury," wrote Montalvo.

However, the judge did not issue an absolute ban. 

Defense attorneys will have to approach the bench and explain to the judge how the evidence or testimony is relevant before it is presented. The judge will then decide whether the jury will get to hear it.

Cobos is accused of receiving $4,500 in bribes from lobbyists in exchange for his vote as the head of the El Paso Commissioners Court.

Aguilar is accused of facilitating one of the exchanges.

Businessmen Bobby Ruiz, Chris Pak and Raymond Telles have pleaded guilty to their part in the alleged scheme.

Cobos and Aguilar are set to go to trial September 9.