The complaint states the judge’s violations include abuse of official capacity, official oppression and violation of an emergency management plan.
On April 7, Gravell went to the Jarrell Fire Department, where he put on firefighter gear to be used to visit his grandson for his birthday. A deputy then drove Gravell and his wife to his daughter’s home in Jarrell, the complaint states.
Twitter user @buddy_falcon posted three photos of the judge in the full gear with his wife stating “these photos provided by a very annoyed neighbor apparently, who is sick of the rules not applying to everybody.”
McCabe then replied to the tweet stating the move was an “abuse of official capacity” as the public equipment must then be sanitized.
McCabe recounts in the complaint that soon after he received a call from District Attorney Shawn Dick stating Gravell was on the other line and said it was an emergency. He added Dick believed that with the sense of urgency that was conveyed, it must be coronavirus related; however, McCabe believed it to be about the Twitter post.
Once on the phone, McCabe said in the complaint that Gravell asked him to take down the Twitter post, even though McCabe insisted he had no control over the account nor the photos and had no way of removing the post.
Gravell then stated that if McCabe had an issue with he or Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody, he could take it up with them but to leave his daughter and family out of it, according to the complaint. Gravell then asked again for McCabe to remove the Twitter post.
“I declined and told [Gravell] that people are missing funerals, re-scheduling weddings and have been unable to see their loved ones due to the stay at home orders, that he was not above anyone else,” the complaint reads.
Gravell addressed the accusations during an April 8 media conference stating he has not been in a location of 10 people or more beyond the Williamson County Emergency Services Operation Center.
“I have a social distancing order than says not to gather with 10 or more, and the only place that I have violated that order has been right here in this executive room,” Gravell said at the time.
He declined to comment further when asked again April 13.
McCabe said in an email to Community Impact Newspaper that he expects Williamson County Attorney Dee Hobbs to recuse his office from review and prosecution in the matter because it involves the county judge, and instead it should be referred to the Texas Rangers or the Public Integrity Unit of the Texas attorney general’s office for investigation. He added he hopes to see a special prosecutor appointed to marshal the case through the criminal justice system.
“All of our elected officials need to be held to the same standard as those they seek to govern,” McCabe said. “By engaging in this criminal misconduct, Judge Gravell has cost the taxpayers money, embarrassed himself and brought discredit on the office of the County Judge. He should be held criminally accountable now and accountable at the polls come election time.”
Read the full complaint here: