Attorney general hired campaign staff for top jobs
10/13/2014 Texas Gov. Perryordered to be in court Oct. 31 - The Killeen DailyHerald:
Texas Gov. Perry ordered to be in court Oct. 31
By WILL WEISSERT| Posted: Monday, October 13, 2014 10:41 am
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Indicted Texas Gov. Rick Perry must appear for a court hearing on Oct. 31.
A judge set the date Monday for a pretrial hearing to discuss procedural issues, including whether the
special prosecutor leading the case against Perry was properly sworn in.
The governor was in Europe and skipped Monday's proceedings in Austin. But he will have to be there
when the case goes back to court.
Special prosecutor Michael McCrum has until Nov. 7 to respond to two motions to quash the case.
Perry's lawyers call the case unconstitutional, but also want it dismissed on technicalities.
A Texas grand jury indicted Perry in August on two felony counts of abuse of power over a veto threat
involving public corruption prosecutors. Perry maintains he was within his rights
Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst personally called police and asked to talk to the highest-ranking officer about getting a relative out of jail, Allen police said.
He also asked for the cellphone numbers of a judge and the Collin County sheriff, which a sergeant declined to give him.
The relative, Ellen Bevers, an Allen elementary school teacher, was jailed on charges of shoplifting at a Kroger grocery store on Aug. 3, police said.
Police released an audio recording of the phone call late Wednesday, after a request from NBC 5, under the Texas open records law.
"What I would like to do, if you would explain it to me, sergeant, what I need to do is to arrange for getting her out of jail this evening and you can proceed with whatever you think is proper," Dewhurst said on the call.
In the call, Dewhurst described Bevers as his sister-in-law but police said the woman was married to Dewhurst's nephew. In a short statement later Wednesday, Dewhurst referred to her as his niece.
Dewhurst had called the main Allen police phone number and asked to talk to the senior officer. He was connected to the on-duty sergeant, police said.
Dewhurst said he had known Bevers for 30 years and described her as "the sweetest woman in the world."
"Sergeant, you don't know me, but every year I'm the No.1 pick of all the law enforcement agencies in Texas," Dewhurst is heard saying in the recording. "I'm the No. 1 pick and I want you to do whatever is the proper thing."
Dewhurst defended Bevers' character and said the shoplifting charge was a mistake.
"This lady, I know in my heart, was not involved, in the intentional walking out and stealing $57," Dewhurst said.
Dewhurst spokesman Travis Considine released a short statement and said in a later email he would answer no questions about the issue.
"David acted as a concerned family member in an attempt to acquire information on how to post bail for his niece while reiterating multiple times in the full conversation that law enforcement follow their normal protocols and procedures," the statement said.
Dewhurst, a longtime Texas public official, is running for re-election but had no campaign events planned Wednesday.
A police spokesman said Dewhurst is not under investigation and added that the department often gets similar calls from concerned relatives after someone is arrested.
Sgt. Jon Felty of the Allen Police Department said he was surprised when he heard about the call, but said that nothing said was against the law.
"There is nothing criminal here," Felty said. "When I listen to this recording, I hear much of what every family member has when they have a relative incarcerated."
Dewhurst's opponent, Sen. Dan Patrick of Houston, issued a statement late Wednesday blasting the phone call as an abuse of power.
"The fact that David Dewhurst believes he and his family are above the law is the height of arrogance and recklessness," Patrick said. "This blatant abuse of power would be stunning coming from any elected official. However, it is particularly disturbing coming from the Lieutenant Governor of Texas.”
Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said Dewhurst, a Republican, "has shown that he thinks he is beyond the rules and laws that govern regular Texans."
NBC 5 DFW's Randy McIlwain, Catherine Ross and Julie Fine contributed to this report.
Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.
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