State Rep. Dawnna Dukes, the Austin Democrat facing corruption charges, failed to turn over a cell phone to investigators and spent more than $51,000 on an online psychic, according to a legal filing reported by the Austin American-Statesman on Wednesday.
The document obtained by the Statesman reveals that Travis County prosecutors intend to present the information as evidence in Dukes’ misdemeanor trial next month, part of 19 “extraneous acts” chronicled by prosecutors. Dukes is accused of using her legislative to staff run personal errands and being compensated for days she did not work at the Texas Capitol.
In addition to the large psychic bill and Dukes’ giving investigators a phone whose identification number did not match the one they had requested, other “extraneous acts” include Dukes’ being recorded absent for more than half of roll calls taken during the 2017 legislative session, the Statesman reported.
A Travis County grand jury in January indicted Dukes 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 be a live-in nanny for her daughter.
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At the same time, Dukes was charged with 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. But Travis County prosecutors put their felony case on hold earlier this month after a key witness’s story changed about the official paperwork that Dukes was accused of having falsified.
In June, the 12-term lawmaker pleaded not guilty to tampering with a governmental record and abuse of official capacity by a public servant. Judge Brad Urrutia set a trial date of Oct. 16.
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State Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, has missed more than 100 record votes during the current legislative session, the most of the 150 members of the House, according to a Tribune analysis of data from a legislative analytics website. [Full story]
As a case against State Rep. Dawnna Dukes is scheduled to get a grand jury hearing on Tuesday, some of her constituents worry the case will distract her from fulfilling their needs. [Full story]
State Rep. Dawnna Dukes announced her retirement in September, but doesn't plan to make it official until Tuesday. That would make her annual pension payout $3,220 bigger. [Full story]