A Democratic Texas state senator is refusing to resign despite a fraud conviction and a host of allegations against him ranging from bribery to fraud to sexual harassment.
Sen. Carlos Uresti was convicted Thursday on 11 federal counts of money laundering and wire and securities fraud. Prosecutors said he and a co-defendant lied to investors to make money for a fracking sand company that went bankrupt in 2015. He faces up to 20 years in prison, and is free as he awaits his June sentencing.
But that isn’t the end of Uresti’s woes, and the politician says he plans to appeal the conviction.
The Daily Beast reports that Uresti faces a separate bribery trial in May, and also is facing accusations of sexual harassment from several women. Those women include a reporter who claimed Uresti groped her and “put his tongue down my throat” and a data director at the state Democratic party who said he ogled her.
“We were being introduced and when we shook hands, he spun me around and said something like, ‘Damn, girl -- you’re trouble,’” Jenn Cervella told The Daily Beast.
Another woman claimed that Uresti asked her in the middle of a staircase at the state Capitol whether she was wearing a polka-dot thong. Uresti had denied a number of allegations to the Daily Beast when some women came forward in December, but did not respond to the outlet for comment on the latest claims against him.
Despite calls from the Texas State Democratic Caucus for him to resign, Uresti is so far refusing.
After the verdict on Thursday, he said he had no plans to resign, but the San Antonio Express-News reported that he later said he would meet with his family and his attorneys about the future. The outlet also reported that he had expressed “disappointment” that fellow Democrats had called for his resignation just hours after the verdict.
Lt. Gov Dan Patrick, a Republican, has stripped Uresti of all of his committee assignments, and a number of Republicans have joined their Democratic colleagues in calling on him to resign.
Should he not resign, the Senate reportedly has the power to expel him with a two-thirds vote. Other Democrats on the caucus told the Express-News that some had pointed to the example of former Sen. Al Franken, who resigned over sexual harassment allegations without having committed a crime.
Uresti is up for re-election in 2020.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.