Travis County prosecutors are setting aside felony charges against state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, while they investigate new information relating to travel vouchers at issue in 13 felony counts she faces, the Austin American-Statesman reported Thursday.
Dukes was indicted earlier this year, accused of tampering with government records by making false entries on travel vouchers to win reimbursements to which she was not entitled. Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore told the Statesman that prosecutors have new information about the vouchers. “The district attorney’s office recently received new, unexpected information pertinent to that case and the new information has created a need for further investigation by this office and the Texas Rangers,” Moore said.
Earlier this summer, prosecutors offered to drop the charges against Dukes if she would resign from office, pay $ 3,500 in fines and agree to a drug and alcohol assessment. She didn’t answer by their deadline and they dropped the offer, saying they were prepared to go to trial, as scheduled, on Oct. 16.
“Dawnna is pleased that the state will no longer pursue the felony charges,” Dane Bell, a Houston attorney representing Dukes, told the Statesman. “We will continue to work vigorously to prove her innocence on the remaining misdemeanor charges.”
The charges against Dukes include two misdemeanors of abuse of official capacity related to accusations that she used her legislative staff for personal and non-state work. Prosecutors told the Statesman they are ready to go to trial on those charges in October, as scheduled.