Austin legislator Dawnna Dukes indicted on corruption charges

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Rep. Dawnna Dukes • District 46

Updated 4:15 p.m.

Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, who was the center of controversy over whether or not she would resign her position at the beginning of this session, has been indicted on three corruption charges, according to reports from the State Capitol.

The first of the three indictments delivers 13 charges for tampering with a governmental record. Last year, allegations were made that Dukes tried to get reimbursed for non-state related expenses 13 separate times. Each instance could be considered a state felony, punishable by two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. If found guilty on all 13 counts, Dukes could face up to 26 years in jail and $130,000 in penalties.

The second and third indictment charge Dukes with misdemeanor offenses for abuse of official capacity by a public servant. Dukes allegedly misused public funds for her own purposes and used campaign funds for her personal use. This kind of misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.

Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore commended the Texas Rangers on their investigation into Dukes and said the investigation would continue ensuring public officials are held accountable when failing to follow state laws.

Dukes confirmed the indictment and released a statement on Facebook Wednesday morning.

“Of course, I am disappointed but I expected that if I was sworn into office in January 10th that this indictment would follow,” Dukes wrote. “All I can say today is that I will be entering a plea of Not Guilty. ”

Dukes said she would make no more comments to the public about the ongoing trial.

“Since this is now a case in court, on the advice of my attorneys, I will continue to have no further comment,” Dukes wrote on Facebook. “My attorneys and I will respond in court at the appropriate time.”

After posting this announcement earlier in the morning, Dukes arrive at the Travis County Court for booking Tuesday afternoon. Dukes made some brief comments to confirm she would continue representing House District 46 in the House.

“People who are underserved deserve to have my voice in the House,” Dukes said.

Her lawyer, Shaun Clark, said her court date is set for March 9.

Dukes serves House District 46, which covers parts of Pflugerville, Manor and Austin.

When Dukes announced she would be resigning from her post at the beginning of the 85th session, several challengers announced they would be running for the open seat, including Chito Vela and Manor ISD trustee Ana Cortez.

Vela renewed his call for Dukes to resign and Cortez announced her campaign would continue.

Read the rest of our coverage about Dukes here and here.

 

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