Looney, Ledbetter

Attorney Paul Looney (right) seeks to disqualify the McLennan County DA’s Office for distributing a video of Cody Ledbetter (left) and his wife having sex. Standing between them is Ledbetter’s mother, Nina Boyett.

Staff photo — Jerry Larson, file

A Twin Peaks defendant is seeking to disqualify the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office from prosecuting his case, claiming prosecutors engaged in “illegal and outrageous” conduct by releasing images of the biker and his wife having sex as part of the massive Twin Peaks discovery process.

Houston attorney Paul Looney, who represents Cody Ledbetter, said Wednesday he intends to file a motion Thursday seeking to recall the Twin Peaks discovery because of photos and videos of Ledbetter and his wife having consensual sexual relations that were on Ledbetter’s confiscated cellphone.

“The district attorney and his assistants have committed numerous crimes against Mr. Ledbetter and his wife by knowingly revealing these intimate images on his telephone without any legal excuse,” Looney said.

Ledbetter, 28, of Waco, is a former member of the Cossacks group who saw his stepfather, Daniel Boyett, shot and killed at Twin Peaks in May 2015. His trial is set for Jan. 9, 2018, in 19th State District Court.

Looney said that after the inspection of the bikers’ cellphones, instead of deeming the images irrelevant and deleting them, the images were copied more than 150 times and distributed to counsel and staff for each of the Twin Peaks defendants as part of the discovery process.

“These private images, intended to be seen only by Ledbetter and his wife, have been made available to hundreds, if not thousands of people, including other defendants, their attorneys, the staff of those attorneys’ law firms and/or investigators,” Looney said.

In seeking to disqualify the DA’s office, Looney alleges prosecutors now are in the unique position of prosecuting the victims of their own intentional crimes.

“Clearly, in this case, prejudice is plain. Mr. Reyna and numerous others prosecutors in his office have victimized Mr. Ledbetter and his wife,” the motion states. “They have shown no respect for his rights and cannot justly prosecute their own victim.”

District Attorney Abel Reyna did not return phone messages Wednesday.

“The state has been claiming a ‘duty to disclose’ that never applied to these images, and that is simply an outrage,” said Clay Conrad, Looney’s law partner. “They have a duty to disclose relevant information, but they also have a duty not to disclose private sexual images having absolutely nothing to do with the current case.”

The motion states the state violated the rights of the Ledbetters by disseminating the images and alleges the Texas Penal Code makes the distribution of such images without their consent a criminal act.

“They are not protected by immunity,” Looney said. “They are not protected by discovery rules and they are not protected by common sense. Those actions were and still are simply criminal. The District Attorney’s Office in McLennan County can no longer be responsible for the prosecution of Cody Ledbetter.

“A special prosecutor must be appointed. There is no argument that a person can criminally victimize another person and continue to serve as a prosecutor against that person. McLennan County citizens have a right to be disgusted with the behavior of their prosecutors.”

Last year, prosecutors were forced to recall a portion of the Twin Peaks evidence that was sent out to defense attorneys because there was child pornography on the phone or phones of one or more of the bikers.

Staff writer at the Waco Tribune-Herald covering courts and criminal justice. Follow me on Twitter @TSpoonFeed.

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