One by one, sworn affidavits by a retired police official and former prosecutors are painting a picture of corruption and politically charged schemes by Abel Reyna during his controversial two terms as McLennan County district attorney. Allegations, and from sources as credible as veteran prosecutor Greg Davis, cover everything from Reyna’s drug use to a pattern of doing political favors for friends and campaign donors, including dropping prosecution cases.
True or not — and some individuals once in law enforcement now stake their reputations on these affidavits — it’s important to remember that attorneys defending bikers charged in the deadly Twin Peaks melee are the ones now gathering this evidence. The intention is to demonstrate that Reyna, in another spasm of political ambition, hijacked an orderly murder investigation conducted by Waco police in the wake of the 2015 Twin Peaks shootout and engineered the jailing of 177 bikers on cookie-cutter charges of organized crime.
That in itself is a serious claim, given that Reyna’s pursuits — particularly if politically inspired — robbed many bikers of not only their liberty but possibly their livelihoods and families. Yet in affidavits filed, reference is made to an ongoing investigation by the FBI into Reyna’s activities. The affidavits claim the FBI was gathering this information three or four years ago, which raises an obvious question: What has become of this federal inquiry?
When Trib courthouse reporter Tommy Witherspoon pressed for at least some confirmation a federal investigation into Reyna’s activities was underway or had once been underway, an FBI spokeswoman said she could neither confirm nor deny existence of such an investigation. In failing to say one way or the other if an FBI investigation is ongoing — or if it has been closed due to lack of sufficient evidence — the FBI leaves Central Texans in the dark, and just as Reyna seeks re-election as district attorney.
This leaves us with sworn statements of admittedly credible individuals, including retired Waco police detective Sherry Kingrey, a 32-year department veteran. Her affidavit refers to discussions with FBI agents, one of whom, she says, “was able to confirm the information I had provided them in furtherance of its public corruption investigation of Reyna. To my knowledge, this investigation is still ongoing and I am personally aware that federal investigations often take longer to complete than state investigations.”
Indeed. Yet, in fairness to all, the FBI owes Central Texans some straight answers, especially given that a district attorney’s office is typically one of immense power. The FBI’s mission is “to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States.” That implies a certain measure of accountability to citizens. Was the Reyna investigation just temporarily shelved? Was it officially closed? Or is Reyna’s office so rife with corruption this investigation will take longer than even the massive Twin Peaks investigation? After three or four years of dithering by the FBI, voters may well have to pass judgment without the agency’s help.