Guillermo Contreras - Express-News
But a state prosecutor countered that the civil attorney, convicted by a jury in March 2007 of two theft charges and sentenced to five years in prison, crossed the line by coercing and deceiving two of the four men in claiming that the money would go to a children's charity.
Those are the arguments a judicial panel of the 4th Court of Appeals in San Antonio heard as it mulls whether Roberts' conviction should stand. A ruling is not expected for months. In the meantime, Roberts' law license has been suspended and he remains free on bond.
But jurors acquitted Ted Roberts on charges involving a third man, who said he didn't care where his $10,000 went, and a fourth paramour, who knew his payments would help Roberts recoup personal expenses.
Werner de Soliz repeatedly argued to the panel that Ted Roberts' conduct was lawful, but the justices had many questions.
Yes, Werner de Soliz conceded. But she said that because Roberts followed the requirements of the civil law governing pre-lawsuit “Rule 202” depositions, he was in the clear. The procedure he used is common in civil litigation, she argued.
“If it was unlawful, every (civil) lawyer in this state would have broken the law,” she said.
Werner de Soliz corrected her, arguing that Ted Roberts did not make any false statements.
“You are not required to put all your cards on the table,” Werner de Soliz said. “You don't have to disclose particular facts unless asked.”
And, no matter what the state says, Werner de Soliz argued, Roberts' motive is unimportant.
“He can have evil motive. He can act with horrible motive,” she said. “It doesn't matter. He is protected.”
“In one of the men's cases, (Ted Roberts) actually attached a copy of ... the section of the penal code and highlighted it,” Valdez said.