Former chief prosecutor accuses DA of prosecutorial misconduct

McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna in court Friday. (Photo by John Carroll)
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) The man who was first assistant district attorney in District Attorney Abel Reyna’s office has filed an affidavit that accuses Reyna of dismissing criminal cases in return for political favors.

But Reyna dismissed the allegation as “fake news” from a disgruntled ex-employee and a former political opponent.

In a motion filed Friday in 54th District Court, Dallas attorney F. Clinton Broden made the court aware that in a docketed hearing set on November 20 he plans to present an affidavit sworn to by Greg Davis, who until he resigned in 2014, was first assistant district attorney.

Broden represents Matthew Alan Clendennen, of Hewitt, one of the 155 bikers charged and indicted in the Twin Peaks case involving the deaths of nine motorcycle gang members and the wounding of two dozen more outside the former Twin Peaks restaurant on May 17, 2015.

The motion, entitled “Affidavit of Greg Davis in support of his previously filed Motion to Produce Bagley Material with Regard to Federal Criminal Investigation Related to Abelino Reyna Making Selective Prosecutorial Decisions Based upon Political Opportunism,” is set for hearing by a visiting judge and will be opposed by prosecutor pro-tem Brian Roberts.

Broden already has been successful is having the sitting judge recuse himself from the Clendennen case and then forcing Reyna to recuse himself and the reminder of his office from any further prosecution.

Billy Ray Stubblefield, of Georgetown, named retired senior 262nd District Court Judge Douglas Shaver to sit in place of 54th District Judge Matt Johnson, and Shaver named Houston attorneys Brian M. Roberts, Brian Benken and Feroz Merchant to serve as prosecutors for the state’s case against Clendennen from this point forward.

Broden’s motion includes a certificate of service that names Roberts as recipient.

The attached affidavit from Davis details three specific instances where defendants had cases dismissed after Joe Layman, who at the time was chief of misdemeanor prosecutors in Reyna’s office, subsequently refused to accept each case for prosecution, in effect dismissing each one.

Davis’s affidavit goes on to say that after he personally reviewed each case, all were suitable for prosecution and likely would have brought convictions.

Also in two of the three instances, Davis’ affidavit says, Reyna benefitted from campaign contributions from each defendant following the dismissals and in the third a contribution was made beforehand.

The affidavit says in March 2013, Davis and Assistant District Attorney Michael Jarret confronted Reyna about two of the cases in which they thought Reyna’s actions were inappropriate and they were rebuffed.

Reyna, speaking by telephone Friday night, refuted that claim and went on to say the entire effort is politically motivated at the exact time that challengers might step up to run against him.

The deadline to declare for office for the March 2018 Primary Election is December 11.

“This is a perfect example of fake news from my former political opponent and a disgruntled former employee,” Reyna said.

“They are trying to undermine the success and important work of this office and I won’t dignify such ridiculous and untruthful allegations from 2014 with any further response.”

Reyna was speaking of Waco attorney Robert Callahan, who, after leaving the district attorney’s office following Reyna’s election, unsuccessfully ran against Reyna in 2014, and of Davis.

Reyna also pointed out that if the FBI truly was investigating him, that based upon information in Davis’ affidavit, the investigation would be in its fourth year “and they’ve never even contacted me,” Reyna said.

It was Callahan who forwarded the Broden motion to News 10 Friday afternoon.

On October 23, Broden filed a series of subpoenas duces tecum that name eight individuals, including assistant district attorneys Jarrett and Amanda Dillon, and those of former assistant DAs Layman and Davis, each subpoena says the individual must produce: “Any and all documents, notes or emails produced at or created in relation to or in preparation for your meeting with federal prosecutors and/or FBI investigators in relation to the federal criminal investigation regarding McLennan County District Attorney Abelino Reyna.

Davis claims in his affidavit those meetings took place and there were communications between some of those individuals and federal agents.

The FBI said since the allegation surfaced it can “neither confirm nor deny details of any investigation.”

Others who received subpoenas duces tecum included DA’s legal assistants, office staff, FBI agents and a retired Waco police detective.

FBI agents Daniel Brust and Fred Rhea were instructed to bring “Any and all documents in your care, custody or control reflecting a federal criminal investigation regarding McLennan County District Attorney Abelino Reyna or the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office.”

Reyna said Friday night he doesn’t even know who Brust is, “never met him,” Reyna said.

Broden’s subpoena duces tecum for retired Waco police Detective Sherry Kingrey requires she produce “Any and all documents related to an email to you from Special Agent Daniel Brust of the FBI related to ‘the public corruption investigation.’”

Prosecutor pro-tem Roberts, according to his law firm’s website, is an experienced criminal defense lawyer with knowledge in several areas of the law.

Benken, also a long-time criminal defense attorney in Harris County, lists only criminal defense as his area of practice.

Merchant also practices criminal defense law, but is the only one among the three that shows experience as a prosecutor in his background.