Judge threatens top DA assistants with jail time
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- We have new information tonight in the ongoing investigation of criminal activity within the Harris County District Attorney's office. Two of Pat Lykos' top deputies are facing jail time along with two other district attorney office workers.
Two top assistants and two court reporters could be in a heap of trouble. According to court documents, they were given information that may contain transcripts from secret proceedings of a grand jury that is investigating the district attorney's office.
It's another interesting turn in the grand jury investigation into possible criminal wrongdoing by the Harris County District Attorney's Office over the city's embattled BAT vans. Next Monday, two top deputies and two court reporters will have to explain why they have transcripts of what should be secret grand jury testimony.
Last month, they were kicked out of the grand jury room after the grand jury wanted to hear about the issues without the two assistant DAs present. The DA tried to fight it.
"Two judges said that's not the case. A judge at the district court level said that's not the case and a judge at the appeals court level has said that's not the case," we told Lykos.
"And we respectfully disagree with their interpretation of the law," she said.
"There's an aura of invincibility above the law," KTRK legal analyst Joel Androphy said.
Androphy says the court must now decide whether the DA's office crossed the line. He says what went on inside that grand jury room may have been none of their business.
"If they got the grand jury transcripts from the court reporters after the appointment of the special prosecutor, they weren't entitled to it, and the court could easily find them in contempt and sanction them," Androphy said.
13 Undercover first exposed maintenance problems with the BAT vans that could have led to bad test results. The DA now says the breath tests are sound. The grand jury is trying to figure out when did the DA First hear about the problems and did they speak up about it as the law requires.
The district attorney's office is not commenting. Lykos is on her way back to Houston from Hawaii. She was invited there to present a paper and speak at a international drug trafficking seminar.
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