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The criminal indictment against Cuellar includes charges of bribery, money laundering, wire fraud and failing to register as a foreign agent.

Henry Cuellar loses top aide, more may follow

The chief of staff to Rep. Henry Cuellar has left the Texas Democrat’s office after the veteran lawmaker and his wife were hit with bribery, money laundering and wire fraud charges last week.

Jake Hochberg, Cuellar’s chief of staff since 2021, left the Texas Democrat’s office Monday, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation.

Cuellar sources say that several other aides are considering leaving the office in the coming days.

Cuellar was indicted Friday on charges that he and his wife Imelda allegedly used a series of shell companies, sham contracts and fake invoices to conceal nearly $600,000 in bribes from an Azerbaijani oil company and a Mexican bank over a years-long period. In turn, Cuellar reportedly used his office to help advance their policy agenda.

The couple has pleaded not guilty and were released on $100,000 bail each. Their trial is supposed to begin this summer, but the likelihood is that pre-trial legal disputes over the case will take months to settle.

Cuellar has stepped down from his committee assignments while the criminal case proceeds. Cuellar serves on the House Appropriations Committee.

The Texas Democrat didn’t vote Monday, his first chance to do so since the indictment.

— Jake Sherman, Mica Soellner and John Bresnahan

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