Lawsuit filed to remove DA Patrick Wilson from office for official misconduct

Ellis County Attorney Dan Gus filed a lawsuit in district court on May 16, 2018 to remove County and District Attorney Patrick Wilson from office for official misconduct.

ELLIS COUNTY — A lawsuit has been filed to remove Ellis County District and County Attorney Patrick Wilson from office for official misconduct.

Ellis County Attorney Dan Gus filed his lawsuit on Wednesday, May 16, 2018 to remove Wilson from office based on Official Misconduct. Specifically, Gus is alleging Wilson committed at least four felonies. The lawsuit was filed with the 443rd District Court and has been assigned case number 98555.

Click here for the full court filing with exhibits.

Gus stated in his court filings that Wilson monitored Ellis County Precinct 4 Constable Mike Jones' county email account without a court order or warrant.

Wilson had previously targeted and filed charges against Jones for Abuse of Official Capacity. Wilson later had his office file a civil case against Jones to remove him from office pending a criminal trial.

"As part of that supposed investigation, Patrick Wilson somehow obtained access to Constable Jones’ county e-mail account and proceeded to monitor his e-mail correspondence for a period of two to three months or more. This secret monitoring of Constable Jones’ email account occurred on an ongoing basis from approximately February 2016 through at least May 2016," Gus wrote.

"This secret interception and monitoring of Constable Jones’ email occurred without any warrant authorizing the interception and monitoring of the Constable’s e-mail account and without Constable Jones’ consent."

Wilson had filed a lawsuit to remove Jones from office, but withdrew the lawsuit and directed one of his prosecutors to refile.

"Following the illegal interception of Constable Jones’ e-mails, Patrick Wilson’s office ultimately sought to prosecute Constable Jones for several felonies and misdemeanors. In his individual capacity, Patrick Wilson also filed a civil removal lawsuit against Constable Jones in which he falsely swore that he had personal knowledge of the allegations asserted against Constable Jones. Patrick Wilson dismissed that lawsuit in May 2017, but he then directed his Chief Investigator, Jeff Ward, to file a second civil removal lawsuit against Constable Jones in August 2017," Gus stated.

A jury unanimously ruled in favor of Jones and Jones was reinstated to his position as Constable. Jones still faces a criminal trial.

"Patrick Wilson also filed a civil removal lawsuit against Constable Jones in which he falsely swore that he had personal knowledge of the allegations asserted against Constable Jones. Patrick Wilson dismissed that lawsuit in May 2017, but he then directed his Chief Investigator, Jeff Ward, to file a second civil removal lawsuit against Constable Jones in August 2017. During that lawsuit, Patrick Wilson’s office presented multiple witnesses who provided demonstrably false testimony under oath. In April 2018, the jury in that suit found that the allegations of unlawful behavior asserted against Constable Jones were not true," Gus said.

Although Jones still faces a criminal trial, which Wilson had filed in Ellis County, his office has since requested a special prosecutor be assigned and the trial moved out of county. These motions were filed after Wilson's office lost the civil case against Jones based on a unanimous decision by a jury.

During the civil trial, Gus states Ward and Wilson admitted to the monitoring of Jones' emails, "During Constable Jones’ civil removal trial in April 2018, Jeff Ward admitted under oath that Patrick Wilson’s office had been monitoring Constable Jones’ email account during the spring of 2016. Jeff Ward attempted to justify the secret monitoring of the Constable’s email account by saying that Constable Jones was a county employee and had no expectation of privacy with respect to his emails. Patrick Wilson then confirmed that he had been monitoring Constable Jones’ e-mail when he addressed the issue in statements he provided to a local newspaper when he reiterated the line that Constable Jones did not have any expectation of privacy in his e-mail account because he supposedly was a county employee."

Gus went on to state, "In addition to Jeff Ward’s admission under oath that Patrick Wilson’s office had been monitoring Constable Jones’ e-mail account without a warrant in 2016, a computer forensics expert has determined from an examination of electronic files produced by Patrick Wilson’s office that an individual with the user name patrick.wilson had logged into Constable Jones’ county e-mail account in March 2017 and had gained access to his e-mails."

According to Gus, "Texas law precludes a county attorney, district attorney or other law enforcement official from obtaining access to the e-mail account of a third party without a valid search warrant."

"As the custodian of his own e-mails, Constable Jones would have been the proper recipient of a public information request pertaining to his e-mails. However, Patrick Wilson submitted no such request. Moreover, Patrick Wilson certainly knows that he has no authority to determine the public availability of Constable Jones’ e-mails. In fact, Patrick Wilson’s office has gone as far as suing the Attorney General of the State of Texas to prevent the disclosure of e-mail correspondence from Patrick Wilson’s county-issued computer and Ellis County Judge Carol Bush’s county-issued computer. Thus, while Patrick Wilson has resisted disclosure of his e-mails and Carol Bush’s e-mails from their respective county-issued computers, Patrick Wilson has hypocritically and unlawfully denied Constable Jones of any protections he might enjoy under the Public Information Act by simply declaring that he can secretly spy on Constable Jones’ e-mail account because Patrick Wilson has unilaterally determined that Constable Jones’ emails – of which Patrick Wilson is not the custodian – could all be obtained through a public information request.

Click here for the full court filing with exhibits.

This is a developing story. We will have more in the future and major mainstream media are planning reports.