SAN ANTONIO — Opening arguments are set to begin in the trial of an ex-Bexar County Constable that has received a lot of attention.
Michelle Barrientes Vela faces several charges, including tampering with evidence and official oppression.
On Tuesday, the former Constable for Precinct 2 pled not guilty on both counts of tampering with evidence. Specifically for altering and creating her own handwritten cash logs for security at Rodriguez Park on the city's west side.
During her opening statements, Prosecutor Dawn McCraw explained the state believes Barrientes Vela tampered with records in 2019. During this time, three separate subpoenas were issued over security cash logs for the park before they were eventually turned over.
The cash logs in questions contained information from a Easter Sunday incident in 2019, where prosecutors alleged Barrientes Vela demanded a man pay money for security for a family event in a park pavilion where alcohol was supposedly present.
Defense attorney Jason Goss denied the claims saying the ex constable was simply enforcing the law at the park.
Former Bexar County Parks Manager was one of two people cross examined during Tuesday's trial. He explained the policies of the county parks.
Texas Ranger Bradley Freeman also testified on Tuesday. Freeman executed the warrant which led to the FBI raid in September 23, 2019 at the Precinct 2 Constable's Office.
Barrientes Vela was the former Constable for Precinct 2 and stepped down in October of 2019. At that time, she also tried to run for Bexar County Sheriff.
According to court documents, a few months before that, the Texas Rangers launched an investigation into Vela. That was just days before she reportedly had her employee and former political challenger, Leonicio Moreno, arrested on aggravated perjury charges. Those charges were later dropped.
According to the warrant, Moreno accused her of touching him in a hot tub during a work retreat in 2017. The warrant goes on to show that Moreno received oral counseling for gossiping while on lunch, demoted from acting chief to lieutenant and received verbal counseling for failing to complete TCOLE duties, the warrant states.
He filed a complaint at some point and she had him taken into custody by his coworkers.
Vela was indicted by a grand jury for making numerous false statements against Moreno.
Her former captain, Marc Garcia, was also indicted in 2020 by a grand jury. He was charged with one charge of aggravated perjury, and three charges of official oppression.
The public trial continues Wednesday morning in the 226th District Court.