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Grand jury requests special prosecutor

It’s getting mighty interesting over there.

A Houston grand jury that may be investigating the Harris County District Attorney’s Office and the Houston Police Department’s troubled breath alcohol testing vans has asked for a special prosecutor and an extension of its term.

In open court [Tuesday] afternoon, grand jurors asked state District Judge Susan Brown to extend their three-month term past their scheduled end date in early November.

Brown said she would rule on both motions by the grand jury’s next session Thursday.

Judge Brown didn’t wait that long to rule.

State District Judge Susan Brown on Wednesday named attorneys Stephen C. St. Martin and James Mount as temporary prosecutors to assist a grand jury apparently investigating the Houston Police Department’s troubled mobile alcohol testing program.

The order appointing St. Martin and Mount, both former assistant district attorneys now in private practice, states that grand jurors are investigating “possible criminal conduct by members of the Harris County district attorney’s office.”

“After considering the grand jury’s request and the applicable law, the court finds the Harris County District Attorney and her office are disqualified from participating in the grand jury’s investigation,” Brown wrote.

Holy ghost of Chuck Rosenthal, Batman! I’m pretty sure we’ve never seen anything quite like this in Harris County before. It must be noted that we’re less than three weeks away from the start of the candidate filing season. You have to think that there are some people reassessing their chances in an election against DA Pat Lykos about now. That’ll be something else to keep your eye on going forward. Murray Newman and Lisa Falkenberg have more.

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