A. F. "Buddy" Skeen before the hearing Friday afternoon. (Photo by John Carroll)
WACO (September 14, 2012)—State District Judge Matt Johnson deferred a ruling Friday on whether to move the trial of McLennan County Tax Assessor Collector A. F. “Buddy” Skeen, saying he would assess the impact of media coverage of Skeen’s arrest and indictment as prospective jurors are vetted as the trial begins Monday.
Skeen’s attorneys, who are asking Johnson to move the trial out of Waco because of excessive pretrial publicity, presented a stack of documents regarding the coverage during the hearing Friday afternoon.
Johnson said he would review the material over the weekend.
Skeen is charged with one count of abuse of official capacity, five counts charging misappropriation of fiduciary property and additional counts stemming from the alleged misuse of his office.
Skeen was arrested in December 2011 on warrants charging theft by a public servant and false name, information and forgery after the McLennan County Grand Jury indicted him.
McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna said the charges stemmed from a false statement on a motor vehicle title application and the theft of accessories from a county-owned vehicle that were installed on Skeen's personal vehicle.
In April he was named in six new indictments, along with a woman who works for him.
The charges included one count of abuse of official capacity and five counts charging misappropriation of fiduciary property.
Dorothy Ramos, a top deputy in the tax assessor-collector's office, was indicted for abuse of official capacity.
Texas Rangers served a warrant on Skeen's office on July 20, 2011 searching for records to support an investigation involving allegations that Skeen fraudulently listed a county-owned vehicle as a trade-in for the purchase of a personal pickup truck to avoid paying more than $1,300 in sales tax.
Skeen, 69, who was defeated in the GOP primary in June in his bid for a seventh term, has denied wrongdoing.