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Texas Senator Carlos Uresti Facing 200 Years in Prison Over Corruption Charges: Your Texas Roundup

Plus: John Cornyn is staying put, video shows another Balch Springs Police Department use of force incident, and an Austin man sues his date for texting during a movie.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY


“I want to congratulate you coming here from Texas A&M. You know how you get to Texas A&M? You go to the edge of nowhere and you catch a plane. That’s how you get to College Station.”

—Ohio Governor John Kasich during a town hall meeting on CNN Tuesday night. Kasich said this in response to a question from a Texas A&M professor. College Station is only, like, an hour-and-a-half drive (maybe two hours, tops) from Houston and Austin. You’d think that, hailing from Ohio, Kasich would know a thing or two about what “the edge of nowhere” really is. 


BIG NEWS


AP Photo/Eric Gay

Corruption Corral
State Senator Carlos Uresti was indicted on multiple criminal charges related to his dealings with a bankrupt frac-sand company and corruption in Reeves County, according to the San Antonio Express-News. Uresti was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud; two counts of conspiracy to commit money laundering; five more substantive counts of wire fraud; two counts of securities fraud; one count of engaging in monetary transactions with property derived from specified unlawful activity; one count of being an unregistered securities broker; and one count of conspiracy to commit bribery. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s 13 charges and more than 200 years in prison facing the San Antonio Democrat. In a statement, Uresti said he plans to plead not guilty and called the charges “groundless.” In February, FBI and IRS agents raided his offices  in connection to Uresti’s alleged involvement in developing a Ponzi scheme to peddle fracking sand for oil production. The other indictment alleges that from 2006 to 2016, a Lubbock businessman paid Uresti $10,000 a month to secure a Reeves County Correctional Center medical services contract for his company.


MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS


Staying Put
Senator John Cornyn took himself out of the running for the open FBI director post on Tuesday. “I have always considered public service to be a great privilege,” Mr. Cornyn said in a statement. “Now more than ever the country needs a well-credentialed, independent FBI director. I’ve informed the administration that I’m committed to helping them find such an individual, and that the best way I can serve is continuing to fight for a conservative agenda in the U.S. Senate.” Cornyn was reportedly on the short list and interviewed for the position over the weekend, but he didn’t really have much support from his congressional colleagues or FBI agents, many of whom expressed concern that Cornyn would have been too political a pick for the role. It’s unclear whether Cornyn ever even wanted the job in the first place, anyway. He never publicly indicated that he was interested. And though the 65-year-old Senate majority whip may not have a better opportunity to move up the ladder in the world of politics than this one, serving as FBI director would have come with a pretty massive grain of salt, given the quagmire Cornyn would’ve been throwing himself into. Cornyn’s decision also ends speculation over how his Senate seat would be filled in Texas, which was a fun game while it lasted.

Caught on Camera
Less than two weeks after a Balch Springs Police Officer was arrested and charged with murder for the fatal shooting of unarmed fifteen-year-old Jordan Edwards, video surfaced on Tuesday showing another use of force incident. Body camera footage mailed to KDFW shows a white officer acting aggressively toward a handcuffed African-American man, tasing him despite the man apparently complying with the officers’s demands throughout his arrest. The video shows officers removing 39-year-old Marco Stephenson’s backpack on April 28 last year, when an unnamed sergeant suddenly shoves his taser into Stephenson’s stomach. “Don’t pull away! You understand?” the sergeant says as he’s tasing Stephenson. “Don’t pull away! You get it?  Because I ain’t playing with you today. Do you understand?” Stephenson, who fell to the ground after he was tased, replies, “Yes sir.” Police Chief Jonathan Haber told KDFW the footage was brought to the department’s attention by their officers, and after reviewing the footage the sergeant was reprimanded and removed from the public until he completed classes on conflict resolution, anti-bias, and how to respond to mental health calls. He did not face any criminal charges.

Date Night
Texting during a date is annoying, particularly if it’s a movie date. Even more annoying? Frivolous lawsuits. According to the Austin American-Statesman, 37-year-old Brandon Vezmar filed a petition in Travis County’s small claims court attempting to force his date to pay him back the $17.31 it cost for him to pay for her ticket to see Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 because she texted through the movie. Vezmar supposedly owns a company that, according to its sparse website, “combine[s] cutting edge data analysis with keen cultural and philosophical insights to develop and execute elegant and powerful strategies that translate communication into persuasion and ideology into effect,” yet Vezmar apparently couldn’t persuade his date to pay enough attention to him (or the movie). Vezmar told the Statesman that it was a “first date from hell,” simply because this woman texted. In the claim, Vezmar wrote that the woman’s texting during a movie “is a threat to civilized society.” In a statement to KVUE, the woman said that Vezmar’s “behavior made me extremely uncomfortable, and I felt I needed to remove myself from the situation for my own safety. He has escalated the situation far past what any mentally healthy person would. I feel sorry that I hurt his feelings badly enough that he felt he needed to commit so much time and effort into seeking revenge.”


WHAT WE’RE READING


Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.

A whistleblower alleges that voter fraud has hit the Dallas County elections office WFAA

The Morning News has a scathing editorial criticizing the Cowboys for drafting a player accused of domestic violence Dallas Morning News

It’s the two-year anniversary of the Twin Peaks shooting, and everything is still a mess Waco Tribune-Herald

A high school bandmaster in Whitehouse is retiring after 46-years on the job KETK

Texas lawmakers sort of stood up to Warren Buffett Texas Tribune

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  • Jed

    i figured out why it’s been so quiet. this is the kind of news we used to expect jbb to latch onto with 40 posts about dimocrats.