13 Undercover

Harris Co. Attorney to testify before grand jury investigating possible wrongdoing inside Victor Trevino's office

Friday, September 28, 2012

There's a surprise in that criminal probe of Victor Trevino's constables office.

Through our sources, 13 Undercover has learned the grand jury has now subpoenaed the testimony of another high-ranking public official. It's Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan. He's been told to appear Friday morning under oath. What we don't know is what the grand jury wants to ask the guy elected to be the county's ethics watchdog.

Just last week, 13 Undercover had tough questions for the County Attorney Vince Ryan.

"Is the end game protecting Victor Trevino?" we asked Ryan.

"Of course not," he said.

Now sources tell us the grand jury probing the constable has questions for Mr. Ryan too.

"The bottom line is you ran for public office as the ethics watchdog for this county," we told Ryan.

"I think the ethics are being much more cautiously observed by county officials," he said.

But we've been fighting for months for the voters' right to know.

Documents we have show Ryan's office had about reports of mismanagement and possible criminal wrongdoing in Precinct 6 months before the May primary. There was even a final internal investigative report done by this county lawyer for Vince Ryan. But the watchdog won't make it public. Trust me, we've tried to get it.

"You issue your Doug Ray document in its entirety and let the public see everything Vince Ryan knew before the election, that he didn't think the voters had a right to see," we told Ryan.

"I think that would be inappropriate," Ryan said.

"Really?" we said.

"Yes it would."

"You could do it tomorrow," we said.

Emails from Ryan's office acknowledge at least some of the revelations could be "the source of high embarrassment" and "black eyes for the justice system."

Ryan says he has a right to keep what he learned a secret because he's the county's lawyer, even from the county judge. Trevino was re-elected in May. Now it's Ryan who faces voters in November.

"He covered up wrongdoing that he was aware of and chose to look the other way. Instead of being the watchdog that he should be, he's a lapdog," said Robert Talton, Ryan's opponent in the November election.

We don't know from our sources if Ryan has been told to bring the report he won't show you to show them. The county attorney says his office has done a lot to clean up the constables' operations; he has given some records to the DA but not the final report of his investigation.

Just last week it was Constable Trevino on the hot seat.

"Do you expect for there to be an indictment?" we asked attorney Chip Lewis.

"I don't think the grand jury will see anything on the lines of Constable Trevino personally enriching himself, but as they are still working through the process, we are not going to to comment on the issues before them," Lewis said.

We also know from the courthouse that a grand jury subpoena for a sitting county attorney is very rare. We will be watching the developments for you Friday morning.

(Copyright ©2014 KTRK-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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