Criminal charges against Dawnna Dukes dropped

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AP Photo/Harry Cabluck

State Rep. Dawnna Dukes escaped more than a dozen criminal charges filed against her when Travis County prosecutors dropped their case against her Monday.

Dukes had been accused of abusing public office after a grand jury indicted her on 13 felony charges and two misdemeanor charges earlier this year, the Austin American-Statesman reported. Ultimately, though, prosecutors said they didn’t have a case.

From the Statesman:

Travis County prosecutors dropped all of the remaining charges against longtime state Rep. Dawnna Dukes on Monday, bringing an end to a legal soap opera that could have put the lawmaker behind bars.

The decision by Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore came just days after prosecutors acknowledged that a botched analysis by the Texas Department of Public Safety and conflicting statements from a key witness had left their case in tatters.

On Facebook, Dukes was ecstatic and said she will run for reelection:

I’m very happy to share that ALL charges have been dismissed for lack of evidence in the interest of justice with prejudice. It has been a long battle, but one in which I never doubted the outcome. To God who sits in judgement of all, I give the glory. I am equally grateful to have to loving and supportive family who shared the burden and walk with me these past 19 months.

I am looking forward to continuing to represent the 46th District. After years of treatment and therapy for spinal injuries suffered in an auto accident, I am grateful to be in better health and I’m very much looking forward to interim committee assignments and my reelection in March with you continued.

The Statesman described Dukes’ saga as a “soap opera,” which may be an understatement. She was the subject of dozens of reports detailing her questionable ethics, which ranged from collecting pay on days she never showed up at the state Capitol, to her role as an Austin Independent School District contractor despite tax troubles, to her showing up at a committee hearing and saying she was “full of morphine.”

From The Texas Tribune:

Dukes also faced two misdemeanor charges of abuse of official capacity by a public servant. Those charges alleged that Dukes had used her legislative staff to work on the African American Community Heritage Festival and be a live-in nanny for her daughter.

[T]he Travis County district attorney, said Monday she agreed to drop the misdemeanor charges on the condition that Dukes would repay the state $1,340 in order to reimburse the legislative staffer who’d taken care of Dukes’ daughter. Dukes also agreed to pay $500 for an outstanding fine owed to the Texas Ethics Commission and return $5,230 to her campaign account, which prosecutors said had been used for personal expenses.

The Democratic primary is in March, and the general election will be held in November. Four Democrats who had previously said they plan to run for Dukes’ heavily Democratic district confirmed Monday that they will still run next year, according to the Statesman.

Trent Seibert can be reached at [email protected] or at 832-258-6119.

1 COMMENT

  1. She was allowed to make restitution and have the charges dropped. She was never declared “innocent”. This is what a Democrat district attorney and a Democrat judge do. They protect Democrats and each other. Any other person, would be in jail by now.

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