Finally heeding calls from his colleagues on both sides of the aisle, state Sen. Carlos Uresti announced his resignation Monday, four months after he was found guilty of 11 felonies.
The news comes just over a week before he is scheduled to be sentenced by a federal judge in San Antonio. Experts predict his sentence will include 8-12 years of prison time. He’s also set for a second trial in October on separate fraud and bribery charges.
“Serving the people and children in our great State has been both an honor and a privilege,” Uresti said in a statement. “I have enjoyed meeting so many amazing Texans — Democrats, Republicans, Independents, fellow veterans, small business women and men, and thousands of children from San Antonio all the way to the Big Bend.”
His resignation will become effective Thursday.
The San Antonio Democrat said immediately after the verdict Feb. 22 that he had no immediate plans to step down, and that he would appeal the ruling. Texas law allows him to continue serving in the Legislature until he exhausts the appeals process.
But even as he said he planned to stay the course, Republicans and Democrats alike called on him to give up his seat in the Texas Legislature, where he has served for more than two decades. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Republican, stripped him of his committee assignments hours after the ruling.
Several Democrats have already lined up to replace Uresti. State Rep. Roland Gutierrez announced his bid for the seat less than a month after the conviction; and in early April, former U.S. Rep. Pete Gallego joined the fray as well.
In the announcement Monday, Uresti called on Gov. Greg Abbott to call a special election for the seat on the next uniform election date, which is the general election date in November. Doing so, he said, would save the district’s 17 counties thousands of dollars.
Uresti was indicted last year on charges including fraud and money laundering stemming from his work at the now-defunct oil field company FourWinds Logistics. He was found guilty on all counts in San Antonio federal court Feb. 22, and is tentatively scheduled to be sentenced June 25.