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Former fire chief wants trial moved to San Antonio, Corpus Christi

January 4, 2019

Former Brownsville fire chief Carlos Elizondo believes it’s impossible for him to obtain a fair trial in Cameron County because of news coverage of his case and what he says are sensational allegations and conspiracy theories related to controversial city audits.

"Defendant recognizes that changes of venue are not routine. But this is hardly a routine case. Given Defendant’s prior positions as the Brownsville Fire Department Chief and (Brownsville Independent School District) board member, this case has attracted extraordinary pretrial publicity throughout Cameron County, at times headlining local newspapers," a motion to change venue states. "Even pre-trial motions are widely covered. Fueled by sensational allegations and conspiracy theories, local officials, local bloggers and everyday citizens have strived to connect Mr. Elizondo’s arrests as well as numerous searches of his residence and those of his relatives to various City Audits."

Elizondo is facing two indictments: one accusing him of theft and misapplication of fiduciary duty over allegations he stole from the fire fighters association and another accusing him of 11 counts of computer security breach, alleging he illegally accessed the fire department’s emergency reporting system. Elizondo has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

In his motion for a change of venue, Elizondo suggests Nueces or Bexar county would be more appropriate for the proceedings because a potential jury pool will not have been saturated with publicity.

"The prejudice from this widespread publicity is overwhelming," the motion states. "As a result, there is a ‘reasonable likelihood’ that outside influences and publicity will prevent a fair trial, and this ‘reasonable likelihood’ requires a change of venue."

The Brownsville Herald has reached out to a Cameron County District Attorney’s Office spokesperson to seek comment.

mreagan@brownsvilleherald.com

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