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UT issues report on Schwertner

It raises more questions than it answers, honestly.

Sen. Charles Schwertner

The University of Texas at Austin has ended its investigation of state Sen. Charles Schwertner, concluding that the “available evidence does not support” a finding that the Georgetown Republican, accused of sending sexually-explicit text messages to a graduate student, had violated university policy and the federal gender equity law Title IX.

An executive summary of the report, released Tuesday, said Schwertner had not fully cooperated with investigators, but that it was “plausible” a third party had sent the lewd messages from an application that both that party and the senator had access to.

[…]

The two-page executive summary says that Schwertner “refused to meet with” Johnny Sutton, an outside lawyer retained to help with the inquiry, or to “answer five questions that were designed to bring clarity to the investigation.” The summary says the senator did convey information through his attorneys, who told investigators that a third person sent the messages through an application called Hushed that “allows a user to purchase one or more private phone numbers to communicate via cell phone without revealing the user’s actual cell phone number or revealing that a text or call was sent through the Hushed app.”

Schwertner’s lawyers told investigators that the senator had shared the username and password for his LinkedIn and Hushed accounts with the third party, whom Schwertner knows but would not identify. An attorney for that party “did not disclose the third person’s relationship” with Schwertner, and did not reveal why the messages were sent, the summary says. That attorney also would not disclose the identity of the third party, but claimed the individual sent the messages without Schwertner’s prior knowledge and “signed an affidavit attesting to the truth of his or her statements.”

The summary concludes that it’s clear the student “received the uninvited and offensive text messages and photograph, and that she reasonably believed those came from” Schwertner.

“It is also clear that the text messages and photograph were not sent from” the senator’s cell phone and that “though an unidentified third person, through an attorney, claims responsibility for sending the text messages and photograph, we cannot test the truthfulness of that claim,” it says. The third party’s cell phone was not made available for investigators to review.

Schwertner’s “refusal to fully cooperate prevented the investigators from determining whether” he had multiple devices from which the messages could have been sent, the summary says, and the university lacks the authority to compel Schwertner to provide more information, the summary says.

See here for the last update. I’m hesitant to speculate, but it’s hard to escape the thought that Sen. Schwertner is protecting someone. I have no information beyond this story, and people often have complex motives for their actions, but one would think that he would want to cooperate with an investigation that he knew would declare him to not be the source of the texts. I’m going to leave that there, because from here it’s all the land of What If. We know that the student did receive offensive text messages that she legitimately believed came from Sen. Schwertner. We know that his phone was not the source of these texts. We know that someone known to Sen. Schwertner has admitted to being the sender, using an app that allowed them to impersonate Sen. Schwertner. Beyond that, we don’t know. Unless some further information leaks out, that’s all we’ll ever know. I’ve been writing this blog since 2002, and I’m damned if I can remember a weirder story than this one.

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One Comment

  1. Jay Davis says:

    Plausible deniability.