Judge in DA ethics challenge orders report on emails

Posted Friday, Mar. 29, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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FORT WORTH -- The judge presiding over a defendant's challenge to the ethics of the Tarrant County district attorney's office recessed the hearing Thursday and ordered a forensic examination of the computers of two witnesses.

The witnesses -- one of whom is a deputy Tarrant County constable -- testified that they could not remember emails they supposedly sent and conversations that they might have had relating to the case.

The computer report may shed light on whether attorney Rebecca Lucas helped her husband, Tarrant County District Attorney Joe Shannon Jr., build a case against attorney Mario Perez, according to Perez's attorneys.

Or the reports may help show what the district attorney's office is maintaining: that Perez's move to remove the district attorney's office from prosecuting him is a diversionary tactic meant to draw attention away from his conduct.

Perez has been indicted on six counts of fraudulent tampering with a government record. The indictment accuses him of making false entries on campaign finance reports filed in May 2009 for a candidate for the Arlington school board.

Lucas handled the divorce case for Perez's wife, Azzah. Mario Perez says Lucas gave Shannon confidential information about him which was used in preparing the tampering case.

Mario Perez has asked the district attorney's office to recuse itself from his case and is asking state District Judge George Gallagher to appoint a new attorney to prosecute the charges.

In ordering the computer analysis, state District Judge George Gallagher said he would also try to determine whether any Tarrant County equipment was used for personal gain.

Mitch Mitchell, 817-390-7752

Twitter: @mitchmitchel3

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