A conviction has been handed down to a Democratic consultant charged with attempting to coerce a public official, a scheme designed to influence the results of a legislative race in Harris County, Texas.
According to KTRK-TV, Damien Jones sent threatening text messages to then-state Rep. Gina Calanni in an attempt to convince her not to seek re-election.
The threats were made in December 2019, just days before the 2020 filing deadline for prospective Texas candidates.
Jones’ trial lasted three days, and his conviction was announced on Friday.
The crime is classified as a Class A misdemeanor, so Jones was facing up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine. Instead, a judge sentenced him to one year of probation, and he will be required to complete a class on making “good decisions,” as well as 30 hours of community service.
1/2Political consultant Damien Jones was convicted Friday for a failed scheme intended to affect the outcome of the race for Texas House of Representatives District 132 during the 2020 election cycle, HCDA Kim Ogg announced. #PublicSafety
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— Harris County DA (@HarrisCountyDAO) October 7, 2022
Upon receiving the threatening texts from Jones, Calanni reported them to the Texas Department of Public Safety, which investigated the matter in conjunction with the Public Corruption Division of the district attorney’s office.
Harris County DA Kim Ogg lauded the verdict in a statement, saying, “At a time when threats against public servants are at an all-time high, it is critical to hold accountable those who would try to subvert the will of the people by coercing a state representative into dropping out of an election.”
The case was prosecuted by Kimberly Smith and Michael Levine, both members of the Public Corruption Division.
“This goes beyond just expressing your opinion. This was a threat,” Smith said. “This is a prime example of showing that no matter what your profession is, you are going to be held responsible for what you say and do.”
“This was a case of ambition that crossed the line into criminal conduct,” Levine said. “By trying to coerce a politician into resigning, he illegally sought to influence an election.”
This is not the only recent scandal Harris County has seen regarding election issues.
Former county elections administrator Isabel Longoria resigned after the Texas primary in March. Longoria faced legal challenges after it was discovered her office had failed to count 10,000 mail-in ballots.
Longoria was appointed to her position by progressive Judge Lina Hidalgo.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.