DA Lykos subpoenaed to testify before grand jury

January 6, 2012 4:29:44 PM PST
Her office has been under investigation for months, and now the Harris County District Attorney herself is called to testify before a grand jury.

A grand jury investigating possible wrongdoing within the DA's Office has officially subpoenaed DA Pat Lykos. The probe centers around problems with the Houston Police Department's DWI testing vans.

The DA's Office will neither confirm nor deny that there's been a subpoena issued. They say that due to the secrecy of the grand jury proceedings, they can't talk about it. But we do know that the DA has been subpoenaed and that some time in the next few weeks, she will be testifying.

This is an ongoing grand jury investigation that's already seen some of the DA's top assistants take the stand. At question are the DA's use of so-called BAT vans used in drunk driving cases, and whether the DA's Office knew of flaws with those testing vans without informing defense attorneys of those potential problems.

Back in March, 13 Undercover's Wayne Dolcefino first reported about maintenance problems with those mobile testing units. DA Pat Lykos told Eyewitness News in October that she was unaware of any problems with the BAT vans, that she had issue with HPD and asked that the Department of Public Safety take over administration of those vans.

"I want the Texas Department of Public Safety to supervise the technicians so that we can be assured that everything is done according to protocol," Lykos said in October 2011.

Now she'll be talking to a grand jury.

"Very unusual. I don't know of another case where a DA has been called by a grand jury to testify in a criminal matter," said KTRK Legal Analyst Joel Androphy.

He says it's not only unusual, but it's also potentially dangerous for the DA to have to answer questions about what she did or didn't know then, and does or doesn't know now.

"Here, a prosecutor is being called to testify to a grand jury that is investigating her office. So, you know, she, number one, could tell everything that she knows, but, two, she runs the risk of incriminating herself," Androphy said.

Lykos could choose to plead the Fifth, but Androphy says that would be akin to political suicide.

You can read more about what led to this grand jury investigation by clicking on the Related Links in the box on the upper left-hand side of this story.