Lawyer for U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar said federal authorities informed him that the Democrat was not the target of an investigation that led FBI agents to raid the congressman’s home in southern Washington. Texas.
Cuellar, who is in the midst of a re-election campaign, denied any wrongdoing in January after officers searched his home in the border town of Laredo as part of an investigation linked to the former Soviet Republic of ‘Azerbaijan.
The Congressman’s Washington, D.C.-based attorney, Joshua Berman, said Wednesday that his client is cooperating and that “the Department of Justice has informed me that Congressman Cuellar is not the target of the investigation”. The statement was first reported by Fox News.
Berman’s comment comes as Cuellar, who is among the most conservative Democrats in Congress, is locked in a primary runoff with a progressive challenge: Jessica Cisneros, a 28-year-old immigration lawyer. Neither got more than 50% of the vote needed to win outright in a March primary and they will appear on the ballot again in May.
The search of Cuellar’s home was part of a larger Azerbaijan-related investigation that saw FBI agents serve a series of subpoenas and conduct interviews in Washington, D.C. and Texas, previously told Reuters. the Associated Press a person with direct knowledge of the investigation. The person was not authorized to discuss it publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
It was not immediately clear what connection the search of Cuellar’s home had with the ongoing investigation.
Federal disclosures show the nine-term congressman visited Azerbaijan in 2013. Two years later, Cuellar’s office announced a deal between a University of Texas and an organization called the Assembly of Friends of Azerbaijan to collaborate on oil and gas research and education.
A spokesperson for the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington did not immediately return calls seeking comment. The FBI declined to comment.
Tucker reported from Washington.