Mayor calls plea deal off 'un-American'

September 25, 2008 1:36:02 PM PDT
A South Texas mayor accused of leaking information about a sex abuse case rejected a plea deal offer that prohibits him from seeking re-election, calling the proposal "un-American." "This smacks of political blackmail and is absolutely unacceptable and certainly un-American," Mayor Will Armstrong said in a statement reported in Thursday's Victoria Advocate.

Armstrong's attorney, Wayne Meissner, said the re-election prohibition was rejected but that other aspects of the offer might still be negotiable. Victoria County District Attorney Stephen Tyler declined to discuss the deal's details, including what the other conditions are, but said "his actions have "nothing to do with politics everything to do with conduct."

Armstrong is charged with misusing official information and criminal conspiracy. He and Police Chief Bruce Ure, Lt. Ralph Buentello and former city attorney David Smith are accused of conspiring to leak details of former Victoria County Sheriff Michael Ratcliff's sex assault investigation. Ratcliff was accused of sexually assaulting a teenage boy.

Ure and Smith were indicted on charges alleging that they tampered with the investigation by leaking information about it to a local reporter. Armstrong was indicted on misuse of official information and criminal conspiracy. In August, a judge ruled that the charges against the mayor would have to be changed or he'd dismiss them, Meissner said.

A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 3.

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