“Beyond stupid” is a pretty good description of this:
Declaring Dan Morales a financial risk to the community, a federal judge on Thursday ordered the former state attorney general to remain behind bars.
U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks refused to set a new bail for Morales, who is accused of lying about his income and occupation on loan applications for two luxury cars while out on a personal recognizance bond on federal fraud charges.
Morales bought a 2000 Mercedes-Benz convertible and a 2000 Lexus after stating he was working as a lawyer and had an income of $20,000 a month. The cars were bought shortly after Morales told Sparks he needed a court-appointed lawyer because he was not working and had no income.
“This is beyond stupidity,” said Sparks.
After a years-long investigation, Morales was indicted in March in connection with the tobacco legal fees and charges of misusing political funds to make a down payment on his home, lying on a loan application for a $600,000 mortgage and filing a false income tax return for 1998, his last year in office.
During the investigation, Morales had been represented by a high-profile team of lawyers, including former U.S. Attorney Paul Coggins of Dallas and Gerry Goldstein of San Antonio. But after his indictment, he began representing himself in court and in late April told Sparks he needed a court-appointed lawyer.
At the same time, Morales told reporters that it was just a matter of time before he raised $1 million to hire his top legal team. Sparks referred to those news reports, saying that’s not what Morales told him.
“I don’t find Mr. Morales credible,” said Sparks.
Robert Hightower, an FBI agent, testified that credit reports show Morales also has $163,715 in credit card debts and owes more than $500,000 on his West Austin home and $245,000 on a home equity loan.
Hightower said Morales needs $10,615 each month to pay his mortgage, car payments and make minimum payments on his credit cards.
Morales apparently has been able to make his payments even though his last source of income was in October 2001.
Unlike Byron, I did vote for Dan Morales in the Democratic primary last year. I had my doubts about Tony Sanchez, doubts which sadly proved to be true, and still had a lot of good feelings for Morales from his days in the AG’s office. I wish I knew what went wrong for him.
(Side note: My aunt worked for Morales as part of the child support enforcement unit. Hanging on the wall of her garage is a big piece of posterboard that her coworkers all signed when she retired a few years back. One of the signatures belongs to Dan Morales. Nowadays, every time I see it, I think of what he’s become.)
Just a strange turn in an already sad story. I don’t see it getting any better, either.