EDINBURG, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Almost six years since his election, former Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina will appear in court Tuesday as his trial in the voter fraud case begins.

Molina was arrested by the Texas Rangers on April 25, 2019, on 11 counts of illegal voting and one count of voter fraud in the 2017 election where he triumphed over the then incumbent Richard Garcia.

As previously reported by ValleyCentral, Molina, his wife Dalia, and his business partner, Julio Ceasar Carranza, were arraigned before a district court judge in 2019.

Both Dalia and Ceasar face charges of one count of engaging in organized election fraud and two counts of illegal voting. All three pleaded not guilty.

The allegations, in the case, involved Molina changing voters’ addresses who did not live in Edinburg and allegedly bribing people for their vote in the 2017 municipal election. Since the investigation began, 20 individuals have been arrested for voter fraud. Of the 20, 16 were arraigned in connection to the case.

Months after their arrest, Molina made a public statement denying any criminal wrongdoing.

“Fellow citizens, I’d like to take this opportunity to talk to you about the state’s decision to arrest my wife and I on allegations of voter fraud,” Molina said. “We respectfully deny any criminal wrongdoing and look forward to defending ourselves in the proper venue; that is a courtroom. These charges will not affect my ability to perform the people’s work as your Mayor. I only ask that you respect our constitutional right to a fair trial and due process. Thank you.”

Dalia and Ceasar’s trial was originally set for December 2020 but a continuance was granted to the defense to review evidence. At the time, the judge assured a new date for the group’s trial would happen sometime between late May or early June of 2021, emphasizing it’s time for Edinburg residents to get an answer from this case.

In November of 2021, the 92nd state district court, visiting Judge Carlos Valdez of the 148th district court of Nueces County, ruled to deny Molina’s motion to dismiss Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez as a prosecutor from his case.

The former mayor said he had removed several of Rodriguez’s relatives from positions during his mayoral term and considered the district attorney’s involvement a conflict of interest.

In December 2021, Molina lost the vote for Edinburg mayor. Ramiro Garza was elected as the city’s new mayor over Molina, receiving 52.5% of the votes to Molina’s 47.5%.

Molina’s jury trial was previously scheduled for June 1, but was delayed after the Hidalgo County Board of Judges filed an order halting jury trials.

In April, it was decided that the voter fraud trial would take place Aug. 15. Since then the date was pushed back to Aug.16.