Travis County District Attorney Rescinds Offer To Drop Charges Against Rep. Dukes
State Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, declined a deal from the Travis County District Attorney's office Tuesday that would have allowed the 12-term representative to have all corruption charges dropped against her if she had agreed to resign immediately.
In a statement sent to The Texas Tribune after 5 p.m. Tuesday, Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore said she'd had no contact from the attorneys for Dukes.
"The offer to resolve this matter has expired and is no longer available," Moore said in a statement. "We will be ready for trial."
As a part of the deal, Dukes would’ve had to also pay $3,500 in fines and restitution and agree to a drug and alcohol assessment. Dukes has previously denied charges that she had her legislative staff run personal errands and that she was compensated for days she did not work at the Texas Capitol.
“It is truly not dignifying this new low that such character assassination has hit in this web woven to influence a court of public opinion,” Dukes wrote in a Facebook post Monday night. “As such, it would be indecorous of me to respond to impertinent allegations.”
When the Tribune asked Dukes about the DA office's deal Tuesday morning, Dukes said, "I'm not talking about that right now."
Dukes declining the deal means the district attorney’s office will move forward with the trial, which was set by Judge Brad Urrutia for Oct. 16.
“It's time to move on. Some form of this deal has been discussed [with Dukes] since September,” Moore told the Tribune on Monday. “We've got to go to work, and we're going to be preparing for trial.”
In January, a Travis County grand jury indicted Dukes on 13 counts of tampering with a governmental record, a felony punishable by up to two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. These charges are based on allegations that Dukes made false entries on travel vouchers to obtain money for expenses she was not entitled to.
In addition, she was indicted on two charges of abuse of official capacity by a public servant, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000. Those charges allege that Dukes used her legislative staff to work on the African American Community Heritage Festival and, in one instance, be a live-in nanny for her daughter.
In June, the 12-term lawmaker pleaded not guilty to tampering with a governmental record and abuse of official capacity by a public servant.
Dukes has faced criticism for missing votes and being absent from the House floor during the 85th Legislature's regular session earlier this year. She was not in attendance when the House voted on the final budget. Despite this, Dukes said in late June that it was a "strong possibility" she'd run for re-election in 2018.
On July 25, two of Dukes’ Houston-based lawyers filed a motion to withdraw as counsel, citing an inability to “effectively communicate with the defendant on matters essential to the representation.”