El Paso businessman Billy Abraham, who was facing 10 felony counts stemming from a hearing in May 2017, pleaded guilty this week to two charges.
Abraham pleaded guilty on Jan. 21 to witness tampering and tampering with physical evidence, and the rest of the charges were dismissed. He was sentenced to 10 years probation on both charges, to be served concurrently, and was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine.
The plea came before 409th District Court Judge Sam Medrano.
Claudia Duran, spokeswoman for District Attorney Jaime Esparza, said they had no further comment and declined to discuss why all but two of the charges were dropped.
The charges against Abraham stemmed from a 2017 civil court hearing conducted over the telephone by an administrative judge in Austin. That case was about the condition of an elevator system in the historic Toltec Building in Downtown El Paso to determine whether the elevator’s three cars should be condemned and locked for safety reasons.
The judge took testimony from Abraham and a repairman about discrepancies in the documentation regarding the care of the elevator, which had not gotten an annually required inspection since 2009.
The Toltec Building belonged to Abraham and his family for decades but was acquired by Abraham’s cousin, Greg Malooly, in a bankruptcy sale.
After hearing from Abraham, the judge said he was next going to call elevator repairman Cromwell Morgan. But, while he was trying to reach Morgan, Abraham was sending text messages telling Morgan not to take the judge’s call.
Fourteen months later, an El Paso County grand jury indicted Abraham on two charges, witness tampering and forgery.
That case was originally set for trial June 21, 2019, but was canceled the day before and the charges were dismissed. The following day, a new grand jury re-indicted Abraham, this time on the 10 felony charges stemming from the 2017 elevator hearing.
Abraham was jailed in September 2019 on a $200,000 bond for failing to appear at a status hearing regarding the 10 felony charges.