Edinburg man’s federal theft trial scheduled to begin

The federal theft jury trial for Braxton Allen Leal Barrera is scheduled to begin this week, court records show.

Last week U.S. District Judge Randy Crane scheduled jury selection for the federal trial of Leal accused of “willfully and knowingly steal(ing), purloin, and knowingly convert for his use or the use of another, money, or thing of value of the United States,” approximately $1,250 in currency, the indictment against Leal states.

Though the indictment lacks details, Leal is accused of the theft on or about April 29, 2019.

The charge Leal is facing, which states Leal allegedly violated Title 18, U.S. code 641, which pertains to the illegal use of public money, property, or records.

“Whoever embezzles, steals, purloins, or knowingly converts to his use or the use of another, or without authority, sells, conveys or disposes of any record, voucher, money, or thing of value of the United States or of any department or agency thereof, or any property made or being under contract for the United States or any department or agency thereof..,” records show.

Leal has a criminal past that stretches back more than two decades, beginning in the mid-90s with arrests for theft, and criminal mischief, and assault.

Most recently, in February 2018, Leal pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in state district court, a class B misdemeanor, state records show.

The 43-year-old Rio Grande Valley man, who made his initial appearance in federal court in August 2019, had been free on a $25,000 bond since Aug. 22, 2019, but was arrested in October of this year after he violated terms of his bond, records show.

Court notes show that jury selection would begin Tuesday, followed by a courtroom walkthrough in the afternoon to discuss jury trial arrangements.