It was an emotional moment for Robert Gonzalez as he heard the jury’s verdict read aloud: not guilty. tears and sobs of relief after being cleared of those charges for an election that furthered his political career, but also was muddied by a criminal investigation into voter fraud.
The case by the Texas Attorney General’s office goes back two years. Today, jurors provided closure for Gonzalez.
Kit Strempel, a juror in voter fraud trial said, “Do we believe that Robert (Gonzalez) did some dumb things, some things maybe he should not have done? We sort of agreed with that, but when it came to finding any illegal things that he did, we just couldn’t find anything illegal that he did.”
The case centered around a December 2016 runoff election in Robstown. The election was for the Robstown utility board, and Gonzalez was a candidate on the ballot.
In a surveillance video, it appears he also assisted 19 voters at the polls and helped them cast ballots. This incident was the subject of a 6 Investigates Report which exposed the legal loophole in Texas election laws. Jurors learned that what Gonzalez did is legal.
During one of those poll visits, Gonzalez complained to an election judge that he saw another man who is a family member of his, vote for his opponent. He claimed the vote was a mistake and happened because the man is blind and wasn’t properly assisted by an election worker at the polls.
According to testimony, that complaint was never fully investigated.
Gonzalez’s attorney Rey Pena said the jury’s verdict restored his faith in the election system.
“Now the citizens of not only Texas but anywhere know that there is nothing wrong with reporting voter fraud no matter if you’re a candidate a citizen or anything else,” Pena said.
The indictment of Gonzalez happened more than a year after he reported voter fraud.
his defense attorney Rey Pena said the complaint was not fully investigated because of political motivations of Nueces County Clerk Kara Sands.
We called sands for comment. She has not returned our call.