Posted: 5/16/2022 1:16:28 PM EDT
A San Antonio campaign employee accused of interfering as an elderly woman filled out her absentee ballot had rows of gift bags that matched the one she gave the woman, according to arrest warrants.
Raquel Rodriguez was arrested on Jan. 13, 2021 and charged with four felonies, including election fraud and illegal voting, by the state attorney general's office. She was released from the Kendall County Jail, northwest of San Antonio, the following day on bonds totaling $60,000.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office began investigating Rodriguez after Project Veritas, a conservative activist group, released a heavily edited video purporting to show her helping an elderly woman fill out her ballot and discussing unlawful voter influence tactics.
A sergeant with the attorney general's office reviewed the raw Project Veritas footage and interviewed the undercover activists who recorded it, according to arrest warrants signed by Kendall County District Judge Kirsten Cohoon.
The warrants state that Rodriguez, who did political jobs for several candidates, agreed — in exchange for $500 — on Oct. 8, 2020 to take a person posing as a prospective client to watch how she obtains votes for her candidates.
The pair visit a home north of downtown San Antonio, where Rodriguez appears to help a 72-year-old woman change her vote on her mail ballot from U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican, to Democratic challenger MJ Hegar. The woman was one of a dozen people in the area Rodriguez said she assisted in voting.
Rodriguez brought the woman a gift bag containing a shawl that was adorned with a portrait of Mauro Garza, the Republican challenger to U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro. Rodriguez said she worked for Garza and had rows of similar generic gift bags in her home office, the warrants state.
"I could go to prison for what I just did," Rodriguez allegedly says after leaving with the woman's ballot and carrier envelope.
Investigators found the woman's carrier envelope at the Bexar County Election's Office in December. There was no oath of assistance or assistant's name on the envelope as required by law, according to the warrants.
Attorneys for Rodriguez, including former Bexar County District Attorney Nicholas "Nico" LaHood, filed a writ of habeas corpus on Jan. 29 asking a judge to void the warrants and release Rodriguez from her bonds and pretrial release conditions.
The affidavits the attorney general's office used to apply for the arrest warrants "contained false and misleading statements and failed to inform the Court of material facts," Rodriguez's attorneys wrote. A hearing on the writ is set for March 9.
Rodriguez has been charged with four counts: illegal voting, election fraud, unlawfully possessing an official ballot, and unlawfully assisting voter voting ballot by mail. Two of the charges were enhanced because the victim was over 65 years old.
The affidavit for election fraud notes the offense is enhanced to a felony when the victim is 65 years of age or older — provided the individual is not closely related to or living with the victim at the time of the offense.
The sergeant wrote that the undercover footage and a report by an analyst showed no familial relationship between Rodriguez and the woman casting a ballot in the video.
LaHood rejected that claim Tuesday, saying that Rodriguez is the biological niece of the woman. Rodriguez's attorneys do not anticipate the state contesting that the pair are related, he said.
Anyone know the update on this? Article is over a year old, but says updated.
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