13 Undercover

Constable scandal goes before grand jury

Friday, September 07, 2012

13 Undercover has learned that a grand jury has begun its investigation into the Harris County Precinct 6 Constable's Office.

We've learned the district attorney's office is presenting its case on the constable's office to the grand jury. It's the latest chapter in a constable scandal that's been unfolding for a year.

"I can't talk about it," said Captain Tyrone Berry.

We asked, "Any comment on the grand jury subpoena?"

"No, sir," he said.

He's the third in command at Precinct 6 and his lawyer says Captain Berry is a victim.

"He feels like a victim," we said.

Captain Berry's attorney Richard Cobb replied, "He not only feels it, in my opinion, he is a victim,"

"Because of the forgeries?" we asked.

"Absolutely," Cobb responded.

Forgeries -- Berry claims some of his signatures were forged on checks from the charity Constable Victor Trevino founded.

We asked, "No question to you that there is criminal wrongdoing by someone? The question is who?"

"Correct," Cobb replied. "In my opinion that's correct."

Some of those charity checks were cashed at convenience stores, with no paper trail of what happened to all the cash after that.

"You know where all the cash money went?" we asked.

David Acosta said, "No comment."

We asked, "How long were you in the grand jury?"

Acosta was the accountant for CARE and Captain Berry was the treasurer. His lawyer now says he had no choice.

We asked, "He didn't want to be the treasurer?"

"He did not," Cobb replied.

Precinct 6 employees complained to 13 Undercover that Captain Berry was one of the commanders who hit deputies up for campaign money for the constable. His lawyer says the long-standing practice of some constables using deputies to raise money is a call for civil service protection.

"They're employees at will," Cobb explained. "So if you want to stay in good graces of your constable, you do those things."

The constable's lawyer says Trevino never told anyone to sign checks without Berry's consent and never pressured Berry or anyone else to serve on the charity board of directors. The grand jury continues next week.

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