Judge Moves Ken Paxton’s Fraud Trial Out of Collin County: Your Texas Roundup
Plus: A Texas mayor joins Trump’s administration, the European Union chief issues a Brexit/Texit ultimatum, and Houston lets its tatted cops bear arms.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“They’re like, ‘Wait. That’s not a cat. That’s Ted Cruz.’ And then they start to read the poster, and they’re like, ‘Oh, snap. Yeah, Ted Cruz is missing.'”
—Nisha Randle to the Houston Chronicle. Randle and other local activists have been papering Houston with posters alerting people that Senator Ted Cruz is “missing.” Of course, he’s not missing. We definitely know where he is. But we also know where he isn’t, which is showing up to meet constituents like Randle, who have long been calling for Cruz to host a town hall meeting.
Change Of Scenery
Attorney General Ken Paxton’s criminal fraud trial is on the move. On Thursday, a Collin County judge sided with prosecutors and ordered the trial be moved out of Collin County, where Paxton lives and has a bunch of personal connections, according to the Dallas Morning News. This isn’t particularly good news for Paxton—his lawyers fought against moving the trial as prosecutors argued that Paxton’s lawyers and his supporters meddled with the juror pool in Collin County by supposedly coordinating a campaign to shed Paxton in a sympathetic light. Judge George Gallagher didn’t explain publicly why he ruled to move the trial, but, according to the Texas Tribune, the decision seems to have stemmed from a piece of evidence introduced by the prosecutors in a pre-trial hearing on Wednesday: an invitation to a 2013 fundraiser for Paxton’s attorney general campaign that included the names of a bunch of Collin County officials. “We have a problem here,” Gallagher said at the hearing, according to the Tribune. “We may have an ethical problem.” Gallagher also ruled on Thursday to delay the case until they find a new place to hold the trial, which was previously scheduled for May 1, and the judge rejected a request by Paxton’s attorneys to dismiss the case on the basis of prosecutorial misconduct, too. It’s unclear where Paxton’s trial might end up.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Time To Go
Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne, who gained national recognition as one of the antagonists of a Muslim high school student who was arrested and detained for bringing a homemade clock to school, announced on Thursday that she’ll be joining President Donald Trump’s administration, according to the Dallas Morning News. It’s unclear what her role will be, but it looks like she could end up working in the Department of Housing and Urban Development. According to the Morning News, HUD Secretary Ben Carson was in Dallas earlier this week and said he’d be making some announcements about appointments to the department in the next few weeks. He also had some nice things to say about Van Duyne, saying “she’s terrific.” Apparently Van Duyne has had her eye on a role that would have her helping the federal government deal with urban affairs for a while, and her decision earlier this year not to seek a third term as Irving’s mayor fueled speculation that she may have been angling for a seat in Trump’s administration, especially considering she was one of the only major city mayors in the country to publicly support Trump’s campaign.
Texit Trash Talk
In response to President Donald Trump’s support of Brexit, European Union chief Jean-Claude Juncker clapped back on Thursday by issuing an ultimatum: “If he goes on like that I am going to promote the independence of Ohio and Austin, Texas, in the United States of America,” he said, according to CNN. It’s unclear if Juncker knows how sensitive the whole secession thing is in Texas, given the state’s rebellious history and the not-quite-dormant movement toward a Texit. It’s also unclear why he only mentioned Austin or why he lumped us in with a place like Ohio. Thankfully, Senator Ted Cruz was able to find some time in his busy schedule to stand up for us Texans. “My simple message to Juncker is: Don’t mess with Texas,” Cruz said, according to the Washington Examiner. “His silly jabs are not productive, undermine the American-EU relationship, and disrespect the sovereign will of the British people who cast their votes and made their wishes quite clear.”
Right To Bare Arms
Houston cops with tattoos can wear short sleeves now, according to the Houston Chronicle. The Houston Police Department had long banned tatted cops from showing their inked-up skin, but the decision to end that rule came just in time for Houston’s hot season (which is, like, all the time anyway). “Employee comfort is really important,” Chief Art Acevedo said, according to the Chronicle. “We work in a very hot environment here in Houston. We’ve got to change with the times and we’re changing our policy.” Acevedo has made several style changes to the department since he took over earlier this year, including allowing cops to wear baseball caps and less formal uniforms. Apparently the changes have rankled some of the department’s more old-fashioned fashionistas, but Acevedo seems unconcerned. “Professionalism is about conduct, professionalism is about service, professionalism is about results, not a tattoo on an arm or a leg,” he told the Chronicle. There are, however, still some tattoo rules Houston police officers must abide by: no ink may appear on an officer’s hands, neck or face, and the tats can’t be racially discriminatory or offensive in any way.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
This cat was born 800 miles away from Texas, but he walked here on his own as fast as he could Dallas Morning News
TCU gets to hang an NIT men’s basketball championship banner next year Fort Worth Star-Telegram
A Permian high school cheerleader tryout scandal involving missing scores, “character assassination,” and very angry parents KOSA
Texas Rangers second baseman signed a new contract extension for $49.5 million and, uh, two horses MLB.com
A former DPS spokesman was indicted for sexual contact with a child KCEN