Trials & Litigation

Judge Sets Contempt Hearing for Prosecutors and Court Reporters in Runaway Grand Jury Probe

Two prosecutors and two court reporters have been ordered to appear before a Texas judge Nov. 7 to show cause why they should not be held in contempt concerning an unusual runaway grand jury probe, the Houston Chronicle reports.

The grand jury excluded prosecutors from the courtroom last month, and “it is now come to this court’s attention that members of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office may be in possession of official transcripts of testimony from witnesses who appeared before the grand jury,” according to a motion issued by District Judge Susan Brown.

The individuals ordered to appear Nov. 7 are assistant district attorneys Carl Hobbs and Steve Morris and court reporters Katherine Chagaris and Javier Leal, the newspaper reports. It isn’t clear whether the two prosecutors are the same individuals who were excluded from the courtroom, along with the rest of the Harris County district attorney’s office.

Although the subjects of grand jury investigations are secret, the Chronicle says surrounding circumstances show that the probe apparently is focusing on both the DA’s office and breath alcohol testing vehicles used by the Houston police department.

The article doesn’t include any comment from the prosecutors, their office or the court reporters.

Two private practitioners appointed by the judge are now serving as temporary special prosecutors for the grand jury.

Earlier coverage: “Houston Grand Jurors Boot Prosecutors; Judge and Appeals Court Nix Gov’t Re-Entry Plea” “Judge Disqualifies DA’s Office, Names 2 Lawyers Temporary Prosecutors in Runaway Grand Jury Case” “Booted From Grand Jury Probe, Texas DA Must Now Testify in Misdemeanor DUI Case”

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