HOUSTON – Former U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman walked out of federal court Friday confident of his road ahead.
"I think ultimately we will be vindicated," said Stockman, who served two stints in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Stockman is accused of conspiring to violate federal election laws during his last term in office. It's a felony that could send him to federal prison if he's convicted.
Friday was not Stockman's first day in court on the matter, but it was the first time he appeared with an attorney to represent him.
"Steve has said that he's going to fight to clear his name and we're going to be there right with him fighting to do it also," said Shaun Clarke, Stockman's attorney.
Federal prosecutors said that the former congressman had conspired with two former employees to funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars to his personal use.
According to the complaint, in 2011 Stockman set up a nonprofit called Life Without Limits in Las Vegas. Prosecutors said a single contributor donated $350,000 to the charity, which Stockman funneled back to himself through donations made by his employees.
Stockman kept his comments to reporters brief following Friday's determination hearing. However last week, after his initial appearance on March 17, Stockman said the charges are payback for his efforts to prosecute former IRS Director Lois Lerner in 2013.
"This is part of a deep state that's continuing the process. But as time goes on, I think it's going to end shortly," Stockman said in last Friday's interview with KPRC2.
Stockman's legal team declined to address his previous "deep state" theory.
"We're not here to prove conspiracy theories, we're here to vindicate an innocent man," Clarke said.
Stockman served two terms in Congress, from 1995 to 1997 and then again from 2013 to 2015. He resigned to run unsuccessfully against Sen. John Cornyn in the 2014 Republican primary.
Stockman's next court appearance is scheduled for April 11, for a preliminary hearing.