Jerry Eversole breaks his silence

January 11, 2011 4:36:33 PM PST
Indicted Harris County Commissioner Jerry Eversole broke his silence Tuesday in a big way, vowing to fight corruption charges and claiming he never got a gift or loan from the guy with whom he's been indicted.

Just last month, the lawyer for indicted contractor Michael Surface denied his clients gave bribes to Jerry Eversole, suggesting anything that passed between them was about a long friendship, not government contracts.

But to hear Jerry Eversole tell us, the litany of gifts and loans detailed by the Feds never even happened.

The last time we saw Eversole, he was leaving federal court. Just hours before, he had been shackled and charged with bribery and false tax returns. But on Tuesday, he was back in commissioners court and talking a lot about his criminal troubles.

"I've already told television that it doesn't impede my job," he said. "I was elected to my job as Harris County commissioner and will continue to do my job."

But the commissioner kept talking to 13 Undercover and what he said will likely raise new questions about exactly what his relationship with county contractor Michael Surface was, and what his defense to bribery will be.

"My attorney has said don't bring up issues and don't discuss it, and here I am talking to my best friend, telling him everything," said Eversole.

The federal indictment alleges the commissioner accepted more than $100,000 in gifts and loans from Surface to help him get county contracts, including home loans, landscaping and trips.

But on the day of the indictment, his lawyer took the position these weren't illegal bribes. If anything, just friends giving things to close friends.

"It is not against the law to do mutual things on behalf of friends," said attorney Rusty Hardin.

On Tuesday, the commissioner denied he ever got a gift or loan from Michael Surface.

"None of those gifts or loans detailed in indictment actually happened?" we asked Eversole.

"No," he answered.

But Eversole is postponing a planned fundraiser that we reported he was planning just days before his trial. He's already used more than $300,000 in campaign funds for criminal lawyers, but bristled when asked why a guy who ran unopposed for a four-year term needs a fundraiser.

"What the hell kind of question is that?" asked Eversole. "You have a fundraiser every year."

And Eversole even suggested today he might run again for commissioner in four more years.

On Wednesday night on Eyewitness News at 10pm, should the county attorney be trying to remove the indicted commissioner?

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