Felony charges dismissed for State Rep. Dawnna Dukes

Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore has dropped all charges against State Representative Dawnna Dukes, (D-Austin).

Dukes was indicted in January on 13 felony counts of tampering with public records. She also faced two misdemeanor charges for abuse of official capacity.

The prosecution had until October 30 to decide whether they had a case on the felonies or drop the charges entirely.
Prosecutors previously filed paperwork accusing the lawmaker of hiding a cell phone from investigators, being impaired on the job, and spending more than $50,000 on an online psychic.

In August, Dukes turned down a plea deal that would have dropped all of the corruption charges against her. The Travis County District Attorney offered that deal in exchange for Dukes agreeing to resign, which she did not do.

Monday, the State agreed to drop all charges after Dukes paid back the State of Texas and the Texas Ethics Commission. Dukes also replaced about $5,000 to her campaign account, money she was accused of taking for personal use.

“I knew that I was not guilty of a single one of those charges, that's why they were dismissed, all of them, dismissed without prejudice. Because it was a meritless case, it was a baseless case, it was not properly investigated before they moved forward,” said Dukes.
District Attorney Margaret Moore said she had believed the House Business Office required representatives to visit the Capitol in order to collect per diem reimbursement. Moore said during a further investigation she learned that was not the case.

A statement from Moore reads in part "This office, the Texas Rangers and the State Auditor agree that had we known the practice of the House Business Office, the investigation would've been closed without filing charges. In deciding how to resolve the two misdemeanors, I have taken into account the fact that felony charges should not have been pursued. Dismissing the misdemeanors for restitution, restoration of the campaign funds and the paying of a fine to the Ethics Commission is a just result given the amount of money involved and the nature of the offenses."
Rep. Dukes said the payments were not restitution because she is not admitting any kind of guilt.

She said the case against her gave her a new goal for the next legislative session, to help reform the criminal justice system.
 

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