Testimony wraps up in Atkinson bribery trial, closing arguments start Wednesday

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Testimony in the federal bribery case against Brownsville school board Trustee Sylvia P. Atkinson wrapped up earlier than expected on Tuesday after two witnesses called by the defense — including Brownsville Mayor Trey Mendez — didn't appear in court.

Atkinson is accused of accepting a $10,000 bribe during a FBI sting operation. In exchange for the money, Atkinson placed an item on the school board agenda and pushed other trustees to approve it.

A grand jury indicted Atkinson on bribery charges. She pleaded not guilty.

Before they wrapped up their case, prosecutors played tapes from a separate investigation that involved Texas Southmost College Trustee Adela Garza.

In the tapes, Atkinson and Garza discuss a scheme to profit from a company that wanted to do business with the Brownsville Independent School District.

The recordings also captured Atkinson and Garza discussing a scheme to set up a company called "Sunshine Solutions" to collect commissions from the deal.

Closing arguments are scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Correction: This story misstated the name of Brownsville's mayor. He is Trey Mendez, not Trey Martinez.


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