By Grace Yarrow, The Texas Tribune
“Republican challenging U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar seeks to have assault arrest expunged” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.
Sign up for The Brief, The Texas Tribune’s daily newsletter that keeps readers up to speed on the most essential Texas news.
Jose Sanz, a Republican running for U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar’s seat in South Texas, was arrested in 2021 for assaulting a family member in an incident where he was accused of throwing a chair at his sister, according to court records.
The case was dismissed after Sanz completed 36 sessions of batterer intervention and 12 hours of community service at a church.
A hearing is scheduled Friday to determine whether the incident will be expunged from Sanz’s record, according to Harris County District Court records. Sanz filed for expunction on Aug. 15 of this year, a month before he announced his candidacy.
A spokesperson for Sanz did not respond to requests for comment. Sanz’s sister could not be reached for comment.
Sanz was arrested on April 12, 2021 after allegedly striking his adult sister with a chair, a misdemeanor offense.
Two days later, a protective order was issued against Sanz, barring him from going within 200 feet of the home where his sister lived or contacting her in a “threatening or harassing manner,” the protective order states.
He paid $1,000 bail and was released. A week after the alleged incident, Sanz’s sister filed an affidavit stating that she did not want to pursue charges and that she was not actually hit by the chair.
“After talking to my mother and sister did I realize that in essence the chair never did hit me, things happened so fast through all the excitement,” she wrote.
The case was dismissed in December 2021.
Sanz announced his candidacy for the U.S. House seat late last month, running as a Republican challenger to Cuellar, a Laredo Democrat and his former boss.
Sanz began work in Cuellar’s office just months after the alleged incident in August 2021. He served as a press secretary and later a district director until June of this year.
Cuellar’s team declined to comment but said they were unaware of the case while Sanz was employed.
“We will not comment on any opposing candidate’s family matters,” said Cuellar’s chief of staff Jake Hochberg. “We will keep focusing on the issues and continue working in Congress to deliver real results for working families in the 28th Congressional District of Texas.”
Sanz said in his campaign announcement that working for the Democratic incumbent was an “unparalleled” experience but led him to realize his values didn’t align with Cuellar.
“I know this district well,” Sanz said in a news release. “It is a conservative district and it wants a Congressman who will protect their family values and way of life.”
Before working in Cuellar’s office, Sanz was an ESPN-Mexico sports analyst. He currently lives in Laredo, but was born in Mexico City and raised in the Houston suburbs.
The 28th Congressional District where Sanz and Cuellar will face off on the ballot in 2024 has been at the center of years of political drama.
Republicans aggressively targeted Cuellar’s seat in 2022, but the longtime congressman prevailed. In 2020 and 2022, Cuellar narrowly won in the primary election against another former employee, progressive Democrat Jessica Cisneros, who was Cuellar’s intern.
The FBI raided Cuellar’s Laredo home and office just weeks before the 2022 primary election. The congressman has maintained that he was not the target of the investigation. Cuellar was not arrested or charged.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2023/10/05/jose-sanz-henry-cuellar-arrest-family-assault/.
The Texas Tribune is a member-supported, nonpartisan newsroom informing and engaging Texans on state politics and policy. Learn more at texastribune.org.