Jerry Eversole: Ever-Smooth County Commissioner Skates Away
County Commissioner Jerry Eversole, who's ruled his little piece of Harris County forever, has escaped yet again from allegations of having a rather loose interpretation of ethics rules.
A federal jury could not come to a decision on whether Eversole took $100,000 in bribes from a contractor, and U.S. District Judge David Hittner has declared a mistrial, according to media tweets.
The jury had declared itself deadlocked for some time. Hittner ordered additional final arguments and gave them a last-chance charge, essentially telling them to decide one way or the other. They couldn't.
A retrial is expected as soon as next week, according to reporters. The case has dragged on forever -- Eversole himself declared two years ago he expected to be indicted.
He was recently re-elected to a new term, even with the controversy pending.
He was accused of taking more than $100,000 in gifts and work from Michael Surface, and in turn sending county contracts Surface's way.
Eversole's attorney, Rusty Hardin, says the feds were trying to criminalize a friendship.
The "friendship" argument apparently was a part of deliberations. At one point the jury sent Hittner a note asking, "Friendship or not, where do you draw the line to justify continuing to accept things of value (as an elected official) with someone who does business with the county?"
Surface faces his own trial later this year.
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.