Political consultant convicted of coercion in 2020 Texas House race, Harris Co. DA says

Allegations against Damien Jones were tied to threats made against State Rep. Gina Calanni.

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Friday, October 7, 2022
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The allegation is part of a grand jury indictment against three people accused of trying to "illegally influence" two local elections.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A political consultant was convicted of coercion after he tried to affect the outcome of the 2020 Texas House of Representatives District 132 election, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced on Friday.

The video above is from a previous report: State representative candidates indicted by Harris County Grand Jury on election fraud and threat charges

Damien Jones, a Democratic consultant, was convicted of coercion of a public servant for sending anonymous threatening text messages to then-State Rep. Gina Calanni of District 132.

Jones sent the text messages in an attempt to convince Calanni to resign instead of running for re-election, Ogg said. The threat was allegedly made on Dec. 2, 2019, just days before the 2020 election filing deadline.

"I was home alone, and I got this threat from this number I didn't know, and it was disturbing," Calanni said in 2020. Instead of resigning, Calanni reported the threat to the Texas Department of Public Safety, which, in conjunction with the DA's Office Public Corruption Division, investigated the case.

SEE ALSO: Harris Co. officials asked to investigate "fake" candidate

Because Jones was convicted of the Class A misdemeanor, he was facing up to a year in the Harris County Jail and up to a $4,000 fine or both. Jones was sentenced to one year of probation following a three-day trial.

Jones must also complete a class on making "good decisions" and 30 hours of community service, the DA's office said.

"At a time when threats against public servants are at an all-time high, it is critical to hold accountable those who would try to subvert the will of the people by coercing a state representative into dropping out of an election," Ogg said. "We thank the jurors for their service."

The case was prosecuted by Kimberly Smith and Michael Levine of the District Attorney's Public Corruption Division.

"This goes beyond just expressing your opinion. This was a threat," Smith said. "This is a prime example of showing that no matter what your profession is, you are going to be held responsible for what you say and do."