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McCrum asks for help

Because many against one is not a fair fight.

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My corndog can beat up your lawyers

The special prosecutor in the case against Gov. Rick Perry is asking for some help.

San Antonio lawyer Michael McCrum, who guided the case to last month’s indictment, filed a motion Friday asking a state court to fund a co-counsel.

“Mr. Perry has filed several pleadings attacking the legality of the Texas statute that underlie the criminal charges the grand jury filed against him,” McCrum wrote. “After due consideration, it is the opinion of undersigned counsel that an additional counsel is necessary at this time to adequately respond to motions and applications filed and otherwise prepare for trial.”

Perry’s legal team has filed at least two motions to quash the indictment for allegedly being vague, unconstitutional and politcally-motivated. The team headed by Houston trial lawyer Tony Buzbee includes several well-known national attorneys and a former Texas Supreme Court justice.

Surely this is a reasonable request. If McCrum were a DA instead of a special prosecutor, he’d have plenty of attorneys at hand to share the workload. One would think Rick Perry’s defense team would not oppose this request, since it would better enable the prosecution to respond to their blizzard of motions in a timely manner, and surely they would like this to be resolved in a timely manner. Right?

It’s possible there’s another factor in play here as well.

Nearly seven months after the 4th Court of Appeals ruled prosecutors had missed the deadline to file a contempt claim against local defense attorney Michael McCrum, the decision was reversed Wednesday by Texas’ highest court for criminal matters.

The Court of Criminal Appeals opinion again opens the possibility that McCrum — currently serving as special prosecutor in the case against Gov. Rick Perry, who is also accused of professional misconduct — could spend up to six months in jail if found in contempt of court.

McCrum has denied any wrongdoing.

The Bexar County district attorney’s office filed the contempt motion against McCrum in January, several months after a trial in which his client, Taylor Rae Rosenbusch, was convicted of intoxication manslaughter. Prosecutors alleged McCrum had instructed Melanie Little, a punishment-phase witness who had served as Rosenbusch’s addiction counselor, to “get lost for awhile,” turn off her cellphone and take a long lunch to avoid coming back to testify.

He was also accused in court documents of having told her “the DA was out for blood” and “wanted Taylor to be put away for a long time.”

A contempt hearing began in January, but it was halted after McCrum’s attorneys took the case to the San Antonio-based 4th Court of Appeals, arguing that the state missed its deadline. The 4th Court agreed, ruling in February that the state was five days late.

It is not yet clear when contempt proceedings will resume.

“The 4th Court was given 30 days by the Court of Criminal Appeals to withdraw their order, and then it’s always possible McCrum could seek a rehearing,” First Assistant District Attorney Cliff Herberg said. “It’s a few months out before things get rolling.”

I know nothing about the details here, though one could certainly speculate about partisan motives on the part of the Republican-dominated CCA here if one were so inclined. Be that as it may, one can certainly imagine this playing out in a way where it might be uncomfortable for McCrum to continue as special prosecutor. If that were to happen, and assuming the Perry indictments haven’t been tossed, it would be nice to have a backup prosecutor in place that could step in without having to learn the whole case from scratch. I’m speculating, of course, but I don’t think I’m way out on a limb here. Anyway, just something to keep in mind. Link via PDiddie.

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One Comment

  1. Steven Houston says:

    McCrum has been touted all over as fair, impartial, and above reproach yet someone had to know this significant legal matter of his was still in play. At very least he should have recused himself because of it from the very beginning because something seems all too convenient about his status (less the possibility of the reversal since that happens all the time), than the initial appointment and him accepting it without reservation.