Harris County political consultant sentenced for failing to influence 2020 election

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KWTX) – A political consultant was convicted Friday of a failed scheme to affect the outcome of the race for District 132 of the Texas House of Representatives during the 2020 election cycle, according to the district attorney. district of Harris County, Kim Ogg.

“At a time when threats against public officials are at an all-time high, it is essential to hold accountable those who would attempt to subvert the will of the people by forcing a state representative to abandon an election,” Ogg said. “We thank the jurors for their service.”

Political consultant Damien Jones was found guilty of coercion of a public official for an anonymous threat texted to then-State Representative Gina Calanni in an effort to coerce her into resigning from her position at HD 132, instead of running for re-election.

The threat was made on Dec. 2, 2019, just days before the filing deadline for the 2020 primary election. Instead of resigning, Calanni reported the threat to the Texas Department of Public Safety, which, in conjunction with the Harris County Attorney’s Office Public Corruption Division investigated the complaint. Because Jones was convicted of the Class A misdemeanor, he faced up to a year in Harris County jail and up to a $4,000 fine or both.

After a three-day trial, a judge sentenced Jones to one year probation. Jones will be required to complete a course in making good decisions and 30 hours of community service.

The case was prosecuted by Kimberly Smith and Michael Levine of the District Attorney’s Public Corruption Division.

“This was a case of ambition that crossed the line of criminal conduct,” Levine said. “In trying to force a politician to resign, he unlawfully sought to influence an election.”

“It goes beyond just expressing your opinion. It was a threat,” Smith said. “It’s a great example to show that whatever your profession, you will be held accountable for what you say and do.”

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