The Texas grand jury that indicted Rick Perry for threatening to issue a line-item veto want everyone to know that they are offended at the notion that this indictment is in any way political. “[We] “really tried to keep an open mind and come to a fair decision given all the testimony that we heard,” one juror told the Houston Chronicle. “I think if and when the facts come out, [public perception will] change,” said another. A third seemed to dance around her involvement in the proceedings while still defending them:
Rho Chalmers, who name matches that of a grand juror but would only confirm her service on a jury that ended last week, said grand juries involve careful consideration of facts.
“For me, it’s not a political decision,” Chalmers said. “That’s what a grand jury is about – take the emotion out of it and look at the facts and make your best decision based on your life experience.”
But did they? MediaTrackers took a close look at Chalmers and discovered that she may have some “emotion” that she didn’t bother to disclose to the Chronicle — and some politics in her “life experience” as well:
Rho Chalmers, who disclosed to the Houston Chronicle yesterday that she was a member of the grand jury that indicted Texas Gov. Rick Perry, was an active delegate to the Texas Democratic Party convention during grand jury proceedings. Chalmers’ active participation in Democratic state politics is important because she claimed yesterday to the Houston Chronicle that her decision to indict Perry, a Republican, was not based on politics.
They also discovered evidence that Chalmers attended a political event for politician who was at the same time providing testimony to the grand jury:
More troubling, however, is the fact that Chalmers attended, photographed, and commented on an event with Democratic state Sen. Kirk Watson while grand jury proceedings were ongoing.
Watson was a witness in front of the grand jury. On June 27, 2014, Chalmers shared a photo of the Watson event on a community Facebook page she started called Developer’s Dungeon. “Senator Kirk Watson telling the story of the Wendy Davis fillibuster (sic),” she wrote in a comment accompanying the picture. …
Numerous posts from both of Chalmers’ Facebook pages — her personal page, which she shares with her husband, Davis [David, apparently, from the screen caps — Ed], and her “Developer’s Dungeon” page — make clear that she is a partisan Democratic activist, and that she was an active participant in the Texas Democratic Party’s state convention in June while grand jury proceedings were ongoing.
It’s possible that there are two completely different people of the same name in Travis County, but Rho Chalmers seems like an unusual name to chalk up to coincidence. If it’s the same Rho Chalmers and she sat on the grand jury that produced this indictment, then it makes the action against Perry look even more like a political hit job — which may be why Chalmers played a little coy about her connection to the indictment with the Houston Chronicle.
A search this morning on the Chronicle’s website does not show any follow-up on Chalmers and her political activity, but perhaps reporters Brian Rosenthal and Patrick Svitek may want to look into the MediaTracker report ASAP. Might make a good story.
Update: David Freddoso writes today that Perry has been all smiles, which has discomfited his opponents — and well it should. Perry’s got the smoking gun on tape, after all:
The local news got the tapes of her arrest and booking when she was sentenced to 45 days in jail. During her field sobriety test, Lehmberg could not follow the officer’s flashlight with her eyes, walk a straight line without stumbling, or stand on one foot. “I don’t think you smell alcohol,” she told her arresting officer. “And I haven’t erratically drived (sic).”
Lehmberg protested at least 10 times for the camera that she was not drunk. At first, she denied drinking anything that evening. She refused a Breathalyzer test, but a blood sample taken under court order showed she was intoxicated at three times the legal driving limit — the equivalent of more than eight shots in an hour for a 150-pound woman, according toBloodAlcoholCalculator.org.
“You’re going to ruin my career,” she said – a theme she would return to at least six times that evening when in front of the camera.
During booking, deputies had to place Lehmberg in a restraining chair and place a mask over her face that is usually reserved for inmates who spit on jailers. When this last fact was first revealed — before the videotapes came out — her attorney told reporters the mask was used to conceal her identity. There is no indication of this in the tape, on which deputies explain that she is being restrained because is belligerent and disorderly.
The head of the Public Integrity Unit tried repeatedly to pull rank. Referring to her handcuffs, she threatened deputies: “If you don’t get these off me quick, y’all are gonna be in jail, not me.”
That’s abuse of power, not the issuance of a veto for funding a public-integrity unit run by a woman who makes these threats. Good luck selling this one, Texas Democrats.