I served as co-counsel for Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) in 1993-94, working with Dick DeGuerin and others defending the Senator against an abusive and politically motivated prosecution brought by Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle. She had just won a seat held by Democrats since Reconstruction in a special election, and the election for the full term was only a year away.
The prosecution was a fiasco for Earle. He lost numerous pre-trial motions because he had no evidence to support any of his claims. He was repeatedly shown to be incompetent in his legal and investigative work. The case ended ingloriously, with a directed verdict of acquittal, after Earle refused to put on a case. It became clear to everyone, including the judge, that Earle’s purpose was to shop for a different venue and prolong the prosecution to continue damaging the Senator. His abuse was so transparent at the time that he was widely ridiculed across Texas for his ineptitude and his partisan motivation.
So I read with amazement this week a Roll Call article (“Earle v. Lawmaker, Take 1,” Oct. 18) suggesting that, because Earle refused to go to trial, the case was somehow less than complete exoneration for Hutchison. This is the story line that a handful of Earle defenders have been peddling for years. It’s not credible.
I have followed press reports of the Hutchison case, and the Roll Call story is easily the most misleading and unfair account of the case I have read in more than a decade. Roll Call had an opportunity, with the advantage of historical perspective, to take a careful look at Earle’s conduct in his various cases. Instead, relying largely on assertions from a former Earle assistant and a weekly alternative newspaper, Roll Call rehashed charges in the Hutchison prosecution that had been discredited at the time or that would have been refuted had Earle gone to trial.
For example, Roll Call reports that a state employee, Wes McGehee, came to prosecutors “with a bombshell.” McGehee supposedly claimed records were being destroyed in the state Treasury office. Roll Call failed to report that when deposed under oath by the defense, McGehee stated he had told the prosecutors nothing of the sort. In other words, Earle had apparently lied to the court. This is why Earle’s raid on the state Treasury building was under a legal cloud.
Roll Call also detailed claims by two witnesses that they were asked to do illegal political work at the Treasury. What Roll Call failed to report was that prosecutors obtained the complete computer, telephone and other records of both employees, including details of local calls, and found absolutely no evidence to support those claims.
American flags decorate the hood of an antique Ford car in the 4th of July Parade in Ripley, W. Va., on July 4, 2014. The parade is billed as "the USA's largest small town Independence Day Celebration."