Rep. Dawnna Dukes ignores deal offered by Travis County prosecutors

Rep. Dawnna Dukes at the Texas State Capitol during special session on Aug. 1, 2017. (KXAN Photo/Wes Rapaport)
Rep. Dawnna Dukes at the Texas State Capitol during special session on Aug. 1, 2017. (KXAN Photo/Wes Rapaport)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Given the chance to dismiss felony charges, Rep. Dawnna Dukes never responded to the Travis County District Attorney about whether or not she was interested in the deal.

Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore gave Dukes, D-Austin, until close of business Tuesday to take a deal that would drop her corruption charges in exchange for her resignation from office and she would have to submit to a drug and alcohol test (along with possible treatment). She would have also had to pay a fine of $3,000 in relation to her alleged lesser crimes.

At 5:10 p.m. Tuesday, Moore issued a statement stating she has had “no contact” from the attorneys representing Dukes. Moore goes on to say while her office was trying to “resolve this matter,” the offer has expired and is no longer available. Dukes will have her day in court when the trial starts in October.

Last week, Dukes’ Houston lawyers Shaun Clarke and Dale Ball asked the presiding judge to withdraw from the case and allow Austin attorney Matt Shrum to represent her. Clarke and Bell wrote they “have been unable to effectively communicate with the defendant on matters essential to the representation.” Shrum told KXAN on Tuesday that he is not currently representing Dukes.

Late Tuesday evening, a different attorney, Rene O. Oliveira—who is a fellow House member—issued a statement stating:

“Because of certain communication issues with her attorneys, my client just received the recent proposal via letter on Monday, July 31, 2017. Ms. Dukes again strongly reiterates her innocence and rejects the latest proposal which has an even more unacceptable condition than the previously rejected proposals. The inexplicable request that she undergo some drug assessment is absurd, and shame on the D.A.’s office for even suggesting such a condition. Neither Ms. Dukes, nor her attorneys, have any further comment on this matter, and she looks forward to her day in court.” 

Dukes faces a trial on 15 charges — 13 felonies — for corruption, tampering with public records, and misusing state resources.


Full Coverage: Dawnna Dukes criminal charges


The first indictment includes 13 felony charges on the offense of tampering with a governmental record. The DA’s Office says these charges are based on allegations that Dukes made false entries on 13 different occasions on State of Texas travel vouchers, in order to obtain reimbursement for expenses to which she was not legally entitled. Dukes’ original attorney Shaun Clarke says the charges accuse his client of claiming a reimbursement in the amount of $61.50 to which she allegedly was not entitled; the 13 counts total $799.50.

Two separate indictments were for misdemeanor offenses of abuse of official capacity by a public servant. The charges relate to allegations that Dukes misused public funds for her personal gain, and that she converted campaign funds to personal use.

On Monday around 6 p.m., Dukes posted on Facebook stating the recent developments amount to a “character assassination” and that it would be “indecorous” of her to respond to “impertinent allegations.”

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