Attorneys call charges against Scott Griggs ‘trumped up’

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Philip Kingston addresses rally outside Dallas City Hall

More than 100 people gathered at City Hall Plaza in downtown Dallas today (Saturday, May 2) to support Dallas City Councilman Scott Griggs who was charged on Friday with coercion by an elected official, a third degree felony that carries a punishment of 2 to 10 years in the state pen. Attorneys and supporters called the charges “ridiculous” and “trumped-up.”

Among the elected officials at City Hall to support Griggs were Councilmen Philip Kingston and Adam Medrano, former City Councilwoman Angela Hunt and County School Board member Omar Narvaez and County School Board President Larry Duncan. Griggs was not in attendance because he can’t speak about the case.

Griggs’ attorneys said Griggs passed a lie detector test this morning with “high” flying colors.

Griggs was asked if he ever threatened physical harm, if he ever said, “I’ll break your fucking fingers,” or if he received certain papers before a 1 p.m. deadline. He answered “No” to each question and the lie detector agreed he was telling the truth. His attorneys said that evidence and more will be turned over to District Attorney Susan Hawk this week and they will ask her to dismiss the case.

Larry Friedman, one of Griggs’ attorneys, said it was unprecedented for the mayor, police chief and city manager to each release a statement  about the allegations even before any charges were filed. He called the investigation “one-sided” and said he was told the charges were going to be misdemeanor, but the police chief told the press they would be felony.

Friedman said “the powers that be” were trying to silence Griggs on the toll road issue in the final week before the election. Griggs is running unopposed, but the mayor has an opponent and a number of races across south Dallas and East Dallas will be decided on the issue of the toll road.

Griggs is accused of yelling at the assistant city secretary, who apparently didn’t remember that he yelled at her for eight days. Two other witnesses still don’t remember him using threatening language. Only the assistant city secretary seems to remember being threatened.

Kingston and others at the rally said they have never heard the mild-mannered Griggs use “the f word” or ever use abusive or threatening language. Signs at the rally called Griggs “dedicated to integrity, transparency and anti-corruption.” Chants of “Stand with Scott” erupted through the event.

“The charges are a laugher,” Kingston said, “except the stakes are too high. I’m not laughing.”

Hunt said Griggs is being charged because he exposed the dangers of fracking, has stopped the toll road and is an opponent to the status quo.

More on this story on Monday, along with some of the emails Griggs demanded be released including those that showed the “Dream Team” design for the Trinity floodplain, recently passed by the City Council, has serious flaws.

—  David Taffet

Gay DISD police officer fired after filing complaint

Jeremy+LiebbeDISD police investigator Jeremy Liebbe was fired by Mike Miles after Liebbe filed a complaint over improperly performed background checks, according to WFAA.

Liebbe was put on paid leave in July after opening an investigation into his supervisor. He was looking into claims she didn’t report having been on probation on her employment application.

Liebbe’s attorney, Peter Schulte, called DISD’s announcement “defamatory fiction.”

The termination letter said Liebbe “acted outside the scope” of his role as manager of the Professional Standards Office.

We’ll be looking into this story and reporting more on it this week. We have open records requests in on this story.

—  David Taffet

Annise Parker won’t get her wish to confront the anti-gay and now former mayor of Moscow

In her exclusive interview with DV last week, Mayor Annise Parker said she wanted to confront Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov at an upcoming meeting in China. She will apparently not get her wish. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sacked Luzhkov for corruption on Tuesday, according to the New York Times.

Luzhkov has been mayor of Moscow since 1992 and is credited with reviving and modernizing the city.

But he has also been notoriously homophobic. He has regularly denied permits for Pride parades, calling them “a satanic act.” Last weekend he jailed gay rights leader Nikolai Alekseev, who was arrested at a protest outside of city hall. Alekseev had filed a lawsuit with the European Court of Human Rights against Luzhkov for prohibiting Pride celebrations in the city.

Parker was to meet Luzhkov at a meeting in China later this year. Her city and Moscow are finalists for an international petroleum convention. While in Dallas, Parker said she hoped to confront Luzhkov about his human rights record.

—  David Taffet