A Texas district attorney, who is funded by radical billionaire George Soros, has been accused of tampering with evidence and retaliating against a witness in order to frame a defendant for murder in a self-defense case.
Travis County District Attorney José Garza has been pursuing murder charges against Army Sergeant Daniel Perry.
A Texas jury found Perry guilty in the shooting death of an armed Black Lives Matter rioter in Austin during anti-police protests in the summer of 2020.
Perry, who was stationed at Fort Hood at the time, was driving for Uber to make extra money in downtown Austin on the night of July 25, 2020.
On that night, he encountered a large mob of rioters.
They were illegally blocking city streets that night, according to police, as protesters in Austin and elsewhere had done during the weeks of rioting.
Among the protesters was 28-year-old Garrett Foster, who was carrying an AK-47.
Perry’s defense team says that the violent rioters encircled him and started pounding on his vehicle.
Foster raised the firearm and pointed it at Perry, prompting him to open fire with a handgun he legally carried for self-defense.
“When Garrett Foster pointed his AK-47 at Daniel Perry, Daniel had two-tenths of a second to defend himself. He chose to live,” Doug O’Connell, an attorney for Perry, said in a statement.
“It may be legal in Texas to carry an assault rifle in downtown Austin.
“It doesn’t make it a good idea,” he added.
“If you point a firearm at someone, you’re responsible for everything that happens next.”
Perry’s lawyers are now arguing that DA Garza manipulated evidence and witnesses to ensure a murder conviction in the case.
They say the district attorney prevented the detective from presenting evidence to the grand jury supporting Perry’s self-defense claim.
The accusation resurfaced on Thursday in a letter from the defense attorneys to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.
Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently asked the board to consider a recommendation for a pardon, Breitbart notes.
Defense attorneys F. Clinton Broden and Doug O’Connell sent a letter to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to present evidence in support of the governor’s requested pardon recommendation.
Governor Abbott made the request on April 8 following the conviction by a Travis County jury of murder in the Daniel Perry self-defense trial, Breitbart reported.
The letter from the defense team reveals exculpatory evidence that was not allowed to be presented to the jury by the trial judge.
The letter resurfaces a previously made accusation that Travis County DA Garza tampered with evidence prepared by the lead investigator during the time leading up to the grand jury hearing.
A motion requesting an evidentiary hearing regarding the initial allegation was denied by the trial judge.
The judge denied the evidentiary hearing request but did not rule on the merits of the allegations, Fox 7 reported.
“As the Board will no doubt learn, the lead detective in this case was forbidden by the Travis County District Attorney from mentioning a great deal of exculpatory evidence to the grand jury which considered the case in the first instance,” the attorneys wrote.
While acknowledging the DA is not required to present exculpatory evidence to the grand jury, the defense team added, “there is a very clear legal distinction between choosing not to present exculpatory information to a grand jury and tampering with the testimony of a grand jury witness by shaping that witness’s testimony as to what that witness is allowed to say under fear of reprisals.”
“In fact, when the decorated detective later explained in an affidavit that he believed the Travis County District Attorney tampered with his grand jury testimony, the District Attorney did retaliate by putting the detective on a Brady list which ultimately caused him to resign after almost 30 years of exemplary service at the Austin Police Department,” the attorneys continued.
A Brady list is compiled by prosecutors or police departments and contains a list of law enforcement officers who “have sustained incidents of untruthfulness, criminal convictions, candor issues, or some other type of issue placing their credibility into question,” according to a presentation published by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
“Being placed on a Brady list is the kiss of death to a homicide detective’s career,” legal analyst Lana Shadwick said.
“The detective can no longer serve as a homicide detective because they would not be able to testify in court about the evidence they gathered during the investigation.”
In August 2021, Detective Fugitt filed an affidavit detailing the allegations against District Attorney Garza. In that sworn affidavit, Fugitt stated:
I firmly believe the District Attorney’s. Office, acting under the authority of Jose P. Garza, tampered with me as a witness.
Often witness tampering is subtle. In this case, there were foreseeable consequences if I did not comply and tailor my grand jury presentation as directed and failure to do so would adversely affect my working relationship with the District Attorney’s Office for the foreseeable future.
I was afforded no choice but to comply with the directives that were issued to me by Jose Garza through his assistants.
I am familiar with the crime of witness tampering as set out in the Texas Penal Code and under the circumstances believe myself to be a victim of such tampering.
During the trial which concluded on April 7, Detective Fugitt testified as a witness for the defense.
The letter from the attorneys to the Board of Pardons and Paroles also contains the defense motion filed this week that alleges multiple incidents of juror misconduct.
In one of those incidents, a juror brought in outside research he conducted away from the jury room, Breitbart reported.
The juror then allegedly used that research and his interpretation of that research to shape his own opinion in the case and to influence other jurors.
Houston criminal defense attorney and legal analyst Carmen Roe told Breitbart Texas after examining the motion, “Assuming the truthfulness of this juror’s sworn testimony, there is no question that an ‘outside influence’ occurred.”
“If a juror performed legal research and instructed the other jurors on the burden of proof that was inconsistent with the Court’s specific instructions, then there can be little doubt that this amounted to an improper ‘outside influence’ that reasonably impacted the jury’s verdict on a critical issue in a murder trial – defendant’s self-defense claim,” Roe concluded.
Following the jury’s return last week of a guilty verdict, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sharply criticized Travis County District Attorney José Garza who he described as a “Soros-backed” prosecutor, reported.
“Self-defense is a God-given right, not a crime,” Attorney General Paxton told Fox News on Saturday morning.
“Unfortunately, the Soros-backed DA in Travis County cares more about the radical agenda of dangerous Antifa and BLM mobs than justice.”
Subsequently, Governor Greg Abbott released a statement that he has asked the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles for a recommendation regarding the issuance of a pardon to Sgt. Perry.
“Texas has one of the strongest ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws of self-defense that cannot be nullified by a jury or a progressive District Attorney,” Governor Abbott wrote in a tweeted statement on Saturday.
“I have made that request and instructed the Board to expedite its review,” Governor Abbott stated.
“I look forward to approving the Board’s pardon recommendation as soon as it hits my desk.”
In response to an inquiry from Breitbart Texas, Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles Chief of Staff Timothy McDonnell said the board has commenced its investigation regarding a possible pardon recommendation for Sgt. Perry.
“While proceeding expeditiously, the board will conduct a thorough investigation and provide the information to the Board Members,” McDonnell wrote.
“As such, there is no specific timeline that will be provided.”
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