There will be only one more trial relating to the Jerry Eversole case. We think, anyway.
Harris County Commissioner Jerry Eversole and developer Michael Surface, two longtime friends who exchanged more than $100,000 in trips and gifts, will be tried together for bribery in October, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge David Hittner agreed with federal prosecutors that two more three-week trials would strain witnesses and resources, according to the order. Hittner’s decision reversed an earlier ruling severing the two men’s cases so Eversole could get a speedy trial last month. That jury deadlocked after a three-week trial on all four counts of corruption.
“This is not good for Eversole,” said Geoffrey Corn, a professor at South Texas College of Law. “Because it results in an accumulation of evidence. The more defendants you have sitting in a courtroom, the worse it always looks.”
He noted that rejoining the cases is not surprising, and the original decision to separate is more unusual.
“Getting a severance motion granted is very, very difficult,” Corn said. “I think the reason the judge did it the first time was the timing of the trials was so disparate.”
Most of the first Eversole trial was about his friendship with Surface, so it’ll be interesting to see how the dynamic changes now that Surface will be there to respond as well. The main thing I’ll note here is that Commissioners Court will need to proceed with redistricting itself before it knows what Eversole’s fate is. I don’t know if their inclination is to draw a map that preserves a precinct for him or not. The point is they’ll have to make a choice instead of waiting to see if it will be made for them. Good luck with that.