Rangers ask for special prosecutor in their probe of Harris County DA's Office

February 17, 2012 4:31:37 AM PST
ABC13 has learned that the Texas Rangers are asking for a special prosecutor in connection to their investigation of the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

It's not a huge surprise. The Rangers have needed some help, legally speaking, but this is yet another sign this is not going away.

While Harris County DA Pat Lykos was asking for the public's help to fight welfare fraud on Thursday, a judge was considering the Texas Rangers request for more help looking at the DA.

The Rangers told a judge they want a special independent prosecutor appointed - a lawyer outside the DA's office who could help the Rangers inquiry into "allegations of investigatory misconduct" inside the DA's office.

On Thursday, Judge Belinda Hill was considering their request. It's help our legal analyst Joel Androphy suggests the Rangers need.

"Get the Texas Rangers from Austin looking at this case, get an outside lawyer or an outside DA from another jurisdiction -- get it done. If you're going to be exonerated, have a full exoneration," Androphy said.

It is not, we're told, an indication of how the Rangers investigation is proceeding, just a logical development in an ongoing probe.

The Rangers were first spotted in the DA's office complex last Tuesday. DA Lykos asked for a formal investigation on Friday, and we spotted the Rangers removing computer evidence two days ago. They were back at the courthouse Thursday.

Aside from a short written statement, the DA hasn't said much publicly. On Wednesday, during that fraud-fighting press conference, she wasn't willing to talk to us at all about the Rangers probe she asked for.

"How frustrated are you that this Rangers investigation is distracting from initiatives like this one?" we asked Lykos.

"I would ask sir that you show respect to the distinguished individuals here today and that we will continue with this press conference. In fact, why don't we just conclude it now and make all the experts available?" she replied.

"Will you be available another time then to answer questions on that?" we asked, but she didn't answer. "Is that a no?"

Late Thursday afternoon, the DA told us this is an expected development that will expedite the process.

Judge Hill will likely make a decision on the special prosecutor Friday.

Rangers, in the meantime, are continuing their work. We know they've interviewed at least one of the grand jurors Lykos looked into. That conversation lasted for about an hour on Thursday.


We've been covering the BAT vans and Harris County DA investigations for sometime. You can check them all out here.