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Legal Turmoil Continues For Two Texas Lawmakers

It’s interim for the Texas Legislature, but two state lawmakers appear to be staying busy as they fend off legal battles

The Texas Capitol in Austin on June 20, 2017. Austin Price / The Texas Tribune

It’s interim for the Texas Legislature, but two state lawmakers appear to be staying busy as they fend off legal battles.

Here’s what you need to know: 

• A criminal fraud trial against state Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, starts Monday. As the 85th regular session was wrapping up in May, a federal grand jury indicted Uresti on fraud and bribery charges over his role in a now-bankrupt fracking sand company he once held a financial stake in. The lawmaker, who’s not up for re-election in 2018, unveiled a 171-person potential witness list Tuesday that’s full of Republican and Democratic politicians, judges and lawyers who may appear in court to testify on behalf of Uresti’s character.

• Who, me? Some on Uresti’s line-up suggested they weren’t aware of potentially being summoned to testify on his behalf. “First I’ve heard of it,” Julián Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio, told the San Antonio Express-News in a text message. A district judge in Bexar County said, “That’s the first time I’ve ever heard about it. I’m totally surprised.” Another #txlege member, state Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, said by way of his chief of staff he was not aware he had been listed as a possible witness. 

• The long-winding legal investigation into state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, is still underway — but the case’s next step, the Austin American-Statesman reported Tuesday, depends on whether rules in the Texas House allow state lawmakers to accept travel pay, a pillar for the 12 counts of felony charges facing the 12-term lawmaker. Travis County prosecutors have an Oct. 30 deadline to decide whether to move forward with the charges against Dukes.  

 

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