Former Texas Rep. Steve Stockman, accused of helping to steal $800,000 in charitable contributions, told a federal magistrate Wednesday that he can no longer afford his boutique lawyers because he has only $17 in his bank account.
Stockman, 60, who vacated his House seat in 2014 after an unsuccessful bid to knock off Sen. John Cornyn in the Texas Republican primary, owns a home, a rental property and two vans, according to the newspaper’s account of court testimony. His wife earns $6,000 a month. But he told U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy Johnson that he had exhausted his assets during the lengthy investigation and had to dismiss the lawyers from an elite Texas law firm who had been representing him, the Houston Chronicle reported.
“This is a four-year case,” he reportedly told the magistrate, in an attempt to explain his financial straits.
He is free on bond but told the magistrate he could not work because his job requires him to travel overseas, which is prohibited under the terms of his bond.
Johnson agreed to appoint a lawyer for him and said she would consider his request to retain his old lawyers at the government’s expense, the Chronicle reported.
Stockman and two aides are charged with raising $1.25 million in charitable contributions between 2010 and 2014 that they later used for personal and campaign expenses.
The former congressman told reporters last week that he was the victim of a “deep state” conspiracy and is expected to plead not guilty to all 28 counts in his indictment.
Stockman was first elected to Congress in 1994, and served one term before losing his bid for re-election. He returned to the House almost two decades later after winning election to Texas’ newly created 36th District in 2012. During this second term, he was known as a staunch critic of President Barack Obama.