FBI informant testifies about secret recordings in Sylvia Atkinson bribery case

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An FBI informant who recorded conversations with Brownsville school board Trustee Sylvia P. Atkinson spent Tuesday on the witness stand, testifying about how Atkinson used her positions at the Rio Hondo and Brownsville school districts to solicit bribes.

Rodrigo Moreno, a local political consultant, said he recorded Atkinson accepting $6,000. In exchange, Atkinson agreed to help a film company receive permission to use Brownsville Independent School District property for a project.

Moreno said that Atkinson accepted the money during an FBI sting operation.

Armed with the recordings, federal prosecutors secured an indictment against Atkinson.

She pleaded not guilty and took the case to trial.

After accepting the money, Atkinson convinced other board members to support the film company's request.

Her lobbying campaign included a $2,000 donation to a local nonprofit organization, which helped secure school board President Minerva Peña's vote, according to trial testimony. Peña hasn't been arrested or accused of any crime.

The recordings also captured discussions about a secret deal that involved SpaceX and Cameron County.

Watch the video for the full story.


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