Update: El Paso Corruption Case

El Paso – An appeals court has rejected an effort to remove a federal judge in El Paso as he presides over a public corruption case.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans denied the petition filed on behalf of former El Paso County Judge Luther Jones and District Clerk Gilbert Sanchez. Both are accused of conspiracy.

They challenged the impartiality of U.S. District Judge Frank Montalvo. The judge denies the allegations.

Montalvo in October dismissed bribery and mail fraud charges against the pair. The ruling said Jones and Sanchez were indicted more than five years after the crimes allegedly occurred, beyond the statute of limitations.

The judge declined to throw out conspiracy charges.

Jones and Sanchez in November sought to have Montalvo removed. The appeals court ruled Dec. 29 against the request.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.