EL PASO – Former El Paso Independent School District trustee Salvador “Sal” Mena, who was indicted earlier this year on bribery and fraud charges, is negotiating with the federal government in an effort to preempt a trial, according to courtroom testimony.But exactly what those negotiations entail was not revealed Wednesday morning during a status hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Frank Montalvo.

Both Assistant U.S. Attorney Debra Kanof, who is the lead prosecutor in the FBI’s public corruption case, and Mena’s defense lawyer, Miguel Torres, had to appear before Montalvo on Wednesday to update the judge on the status of the case, and possibly to set it for trial.

Instead of setting a court date, Kanof and Torres told the judge they were negotiating. Therefore, no trial was set and a status hearing was set for Dec. 22.

Neither Torres nor officials with the U.S. Attorney’s office would comment on what happened in court or about the ongoing negotiations.