More fallout from 13 Undercover investigation

January 13, 2011 5:38:55 PM PST
There's more fallout from our 13 Undercover investigation. Indicted Harris County Commissioner Jerry Eversole was back in court Thursday afternoon, just as one civil rights group moves to get him out of office for good.

Eversole says he wants to go to trial and clear his name fast, as soon as next month. The call for action comes just as one group calls to have him removed from office.

13 Undercover told you last night any citizen of Harris County can file a lawsuit to remove Eversole based on official misconduct. And now, as Eversole prepares for trial next month, a group of citizens tells us they are doing just that.

With his name and career shrouded by a conspiracy and bribery indictment, Commissioner Eversole told a federal judge Thursday he wants a fast trial to clear his name, even if it means his lawyers won't be fully prepared.

It's an argument his normally chatty lawyer wouldn't talk about outside.

"I will have nothing to say and neither will he," said attorney Rusty Hardin.

And neither would Eversole.

"Can you tell us why it's so important to clear your name quickly?" we asked Eversole as he left the courthouse. We didn't get an answer.

Earlier this week, Eversole told us the $100,000 in alleged gifts and bribes from a county contractor never happened.

"They were not gifts. They were no gifts," Eversole told us earlier this week at commissioners court. "I know the difference in a gift, a bribe, the sale of an item. I know all those things, Wayne, and you'll see that at the trial."

Regardless of when Commissioner Eversole goes to trial at the federal courthouse, there may be some more immediate problems he has to contend with. Some local activists want him out of office.

"You want Commissioner Eversole to resign on his own?" we asked community activist Johnny Mata.

"If he can, if that is the case, that would be great," he answered. "If not, the pressure will be on him to resign."

Mata says the Greater Houston Coalition for Justice is working with lawyers and professors to put pressure on Eversole to resign. Eversole, who remains on the job, says he's not quitting, making the next step for Mata a petition for Eversole's removal. A lawsuit that could eventually be heard by a judge who could force Eversole out.

"He doesn't have a right to keep that job forever?" we asked Mata.

"No," he answered.

"And if he's done wrong, you think he should step down?" we asked.


"Sooner rather than later?" we asked


Mata tells us his group will have more news next week.

In the meantime, Eversole's co-defendant, Michael Surface, says he won't be ready for trial until October. It's a disagreement between longtime friends and co-defendants that federal Judge David Hitner will have to sort out.

More stories from the 13 Undercover 'Winning Hand' investigations and Commissioner Jerry Eversole

Who has the winning deal?

Strange Harris County land deals

Who got the winning hand?

Eversole has no plans to resign

Commissioner Eversole to pay back money

Large fine for Comm. Eversole's campaign

Grand jury gets evidence on Eversole

Jerry Eversole ethics bombshell

Eversole admits mistakes in campaign report

Questions about Jerry Eversole's house

Ethics questions swirl around official

Commissioner Eversole's office time investigated