Anita Hassan and Brian Rogers of the Houston Chronicle reported that conservative talk show host and former Houston city councilman Michael Berry has cut a $2,000 check to the man whose car Berry allegedly hit outside a Montrose gay bar last week.
Though Berry has not been charged with any crime–and even before yesterday’s development would likely face no more than a misdemeanor–he is represented by the prominent criminal attorney Dick DeGuerin.
A representative from DeGuerin’s office delivered the check to Tuderia Bennett, a bouncer at TC’s Bar, after Bennett visited with police on Thursday.
The Chronicle included an excerpt from the letter, which does not admit Berry’s guilt:
I wanted to make you aware that from the very beginning of HPD’s investigation, Mr. Berry made it known to HPD that if they were of the opinion that he caused damage to your car, Mr. Berry wanted to make it right with you…We are prepared to pay whatever your actual damages are and we will do so immediately, whether Mr. Berry is found at fault or not.
Bennett told Stephen Dean of KPRC Channel 2 (who broke the original story) that he was pleased to receive the compensation and planned to tell police he didn’t think Berry should face criminal charges. But Bennets says he would like a personal, face-to-face apology from the radio host, and also believes the whole thing might have been swept under the rug if not for all the media attention.
Berry had complained loudly about that on Tuesday, as Richard Connelly of the Houston Press reported. In particular, the radio host took exception to the implication that he left the scene of the accident because he did not want it known that he was at a gay bar, claiming, essentially, that a bar is a bar (“there was cold beer waiting inside”). He also argued it was wrong for people to assume that as a political conservative, he’s also homophobic. “I don’t bash gays,” he said. “In fact, I bash people who bash gays.”
Also in the Houston Chronicle, columnist Patricia Kilday Hart suggested everybody turn down the rhetoric a bit, using the case to recall some advice from former Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock, who offered this line in 1997 when asked about the arrest of legislator Drew Nixon for soliciting prostitution in Austin: “I will not judge him … Lest I be judged.”
Hear Berry’s hour-long rebuttal on his radio show: