You know, this grand jury investigation of the Harris County DA’s office is starting to look like a full-fledged scandal.
Two Harris County prosecutors are facing contempt charges after a judge learned that members of the District Attorney’s Office were given information that may contain transcripts from secret proceedings of a grand jury that is investigating the office, court records show.
Assistant District Attorneys Carl Hobbs, chief of the government integrity bureau, and Steve Morris, chief of the grand jury division, along with two court reporters have been summoned to appear before Judge Susan Brown’s court at 9 a.m. Monday.
“It has now come to this court’s attention that members of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office may be in possession of official transcripts of testimony from witnesses who appeared before the Harris County grand jury for the 185th District Court August term,” according to a motion issued by Brown and obtained by the Houston Chronicle on Tuesday.
“If it is proven to be true, it is absolutely a flagrant violation of the sanctity of the secrecy of the grand jury,” said Murray Newman, a defense attorney and former Harris County prosecutor who writes a blog on the Harris County Criminal Justice Center.
Newman also said he was stunned that prosecutors might have tried to unlawfully obtain transcripts from a grand jury that is investigating the DA’s office.
“It’s like a guy robbing a liquor store with a cop standing outside,” he said. “It’s just stupid.”
Not to be crass, but if these recent events haven’t gotten some Democrats to think about running for District Attorney next year, I don’t know what would. The Republicans are contemplating their options, that’s for sure. I have no idea how this will turn out, but I can sure imagine how to talk about it in 2012 no matter what the outcome may be. Mark Bennett and Grits have more.
UPDATE: And more from Mark Bennett.