McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna dismissed criminal cases for his friends and major campaign donors for political and personal gain and reportedly remains under federal investigation, according to a sworn affidavit filed Friday from Reyna’s former top assistant.
Greg Davis, a trial attorney with more than 30 years’ experience, resigned as Reyna’s first assistant in August 2014, saying he no longer could be a part of a two-tiered justice system that gave preferential treatment to Reyna’s friends and political supporters.
Davis detailed his allegations in an affidavit filed in Twin Peaks defendant Matthew Clendennen’s case as part of Clendennen’s efforts to recuse Reyna from prosecuting his case.
A hearing on the motion is set for Nov. 20, but Davis will be out of the country then and offered an affidavit in place of his testimony at court.
Clendennen’s attorney Clint Broden filed the affidavit Friday, the day a mistrial was declared in Jacob Carrizal’s trial, the first Twin Peaks case to go to trial. Broden declined comment on the filing because of a gag order in the case.
Neither Reyna nor his first assistant, Michael Jarrett, returned phone messages seeking comment.
“I ultimately resigned from the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office because it had become apparent to me that despite my warnings and advice, Reyna had no intention of stopping his practice of giving preferential treatment to his campaign supporters and friends,” Davis wrote in the affidavit. “I firmly believe that neither politics nor wealth should play any role in prosecutorial decisions and Reyna’s actions were completely antithetical to my beliefs and the oath that all prosecutors take to do justice.”
Davis’ affidavit lists three cases in which he says Reyna dismissed valid criminal cases of his campaign supporters and friends by instructing subordinates to refuse to accept their cases for prosecution. One such case involved a DWI allegation in March 2012 involving a wealthy businessman, who has since died.
His blood-alcohol content was almost twice the legal limit and his companion that night told police he was too drunk to drive.
“I concluded the case had been dismissed for political reasons. I was told that (the man) contributed to Reyna’s re-election campaign after the refusal of his DWI case,” Davis wrote.
The second case Davis listed was a DWI in 2013 involving the wife of a prominent Waco physician and a close friend of Reyna’s wife, the affidavit states. Again, Davis said, he reviewed the case and found it to be sufficient for prosecution, and like the other case, the woman or her husband contributed to Reyna’s campaign fund after the case was refused.
The third case involved a marijuana possession allegation in 2013 against Reyna’s wife’s employer at the time, who also contributed to Reyna’s campaign.
Davis said he discussed the dismissals with Jarrett, Reyna’s current first assistant. He said Jarrett agreed with his assessment that the cases were valid and that Reyna’s actions were “inappropriate,” according to the sworn statement.
Davis and Jarrett met with Reyna to “voice our concerns,” Davis said. Reyna told them to “Never get in my f---ing business again,” Davis wrote in the affidavit.
Davis said he and Jarrett met with Texas Ranger Matt Lindemann to “discuss our concerns about Reyna’s actions.” Three months later, Davis said Reyna initiated his Pretrial Intervention Program and used that program to “effectively dismiss cases that did not by any objective standards deserve pretrial diversion,” Davis alleges.
Davis lists two cases, including one against the daughter of a prominent Reyna campaign donor who was a convicted felon and otherwise would not qualify for the program, as examples.
Also, Davis alleges, Reyna used specially appointed prosecutors to help his campaign supporters and friends. Reyna would falsely claim the DA’s office had conflicts in prosecuting certain people and arrange for the appointment of special prosecutors who ultimately dismissed the cases, according to Davis.
Davis also said that, despite an office policy of opposing early parole for offenders, Reyna wrote a letter in December 2013 requesting a full pardon for a prominent restaurant owner and campaign supporter’s nephew who was serving time for manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance in Brazos County.
Davis said he met with FBI agent Dan Burst about a public corruption investigation of Reyna and said it is his understanding that the investigation is ongoing.
Jarrett, prosecutor Amanda Dillon and Julissa West, Reyna’s former longtime administrative assistant, also have met with Burst in connection with the investigation, Davis’ affidavit states.
Jarrett, who became first assistant after Davis resigned, told Davis that he bought another cellphone so he could “covertly communicate” with the FBI agent without Reyna “learning that he was speaking with federal agents behind his back.”
Davis also alleges that two or three months after the May 17, 2015, biker shootout at Twin Peaks, Jarrett called him to say that the DA’s office was responsible for having all of the bikers arrested “despite the fact that the police simply wanted to question the bikers, get their information and then release them while they (the police) conducted an investigation,” according to the document.
Reyna has testified he discussed the Twin Peaks cases with former Police Chief Brent Stroman and that it was Stroman’s ultimate decision to arrest 177 bikers. Reyna’s office indicted 155 of the 177.
Attached to the affidavit are notes Davis made after meeting with the FBI agent.
He said the agent asked about “Abel’s possible drug use and associates.” He said he told him about what he perceived to be Reyna’s “marked change in behavior” and information provided by a confidential informant about a sports bar Reyna frequents.