Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Something reeks in the Harris Co. DA's office

And no, it's not the immanent smell of spilled beer and cigarette smoke.

A prosecutor who last week refused to answer questions from a grand jury said Monday she is the target of political forces aligned against her and her boss, Harris County District Attorney Pat Lykos.

"The fix is in," Rachel Palmer said from the witness stand. "It's really clear to anyone who is not already affected by bias."

Palmer asserted in a hastily called recusal hearing that state District Judge Susan Brown, her husband state District Judge Marc Brown and a special prosecutor appointed by the former were working together to unseat Lykos in a plot that has ensnared Palmer.

Parker Palmer appears to be something more than just a victim here IMHO. All of this grinning and smirking seems out of round.

Thursday's hearing was postponed until Monday when Palmer's attorneys moved to have Brown recused from the proceedings.

An administrative judge quickly appointed civil district judge Al Bennett to preside over a hearing on the request that is scheduled to continue early Tuesday.

In the wide-ranging motion, Palmer alleged a far-flung whisper campaign that included St. Martin's political support of one of Lykos's 2008 Republican primary opponents and interactions among Palmer, her politically active husband Don Hooper and the Browns.

"I'm afraid of Judge Brown," Palmer said on the stand.

Though in Palmer's defense, there is almost surely something fishy going on.

The man challenging Lycos in the Republican primary for district attorney happens to be married to the woman who performed the swearing-in of the grand jury forewoman (scroll about halfway down, and note that my style preference is to keep titles like these gender-specific) who wishes to compel Parker Palmer's testimony. And one of the special prosecutors appointed by Judge Brown at the grand jury's request, Stephen St. Martin, was a supporter of Lycos' challenger Kelly Siegler in 2008.

St. Martin donated a healthy $3,000 to Siegler’s campaign when she was fighting Lykos for the Republican nomination. Also, Lykos kicked him out of the Special Crimes Division of the DA’s Office, and then publicly snubbed him when the FBI gave him an award.

Talk about a bad Grisham novel. Sure, it's a stretch even for the conspiracy-inclined but if Big Jolly is scared, then you ought to be too. Unless you're not a Republican, in which case you need to go pop some more corn.

And just think: all this could have been avoided if Democrats had managed a few more votes for C.O. Bradford for DA in 2008.

Update: For those who have inquired... yes, that last was total sarcasm.

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