HOUSTON (Covering Katy News) - A Democratic political consultant was convicted today for a failed scheme to affect the outcome of a Katy area Democratic primary race for Texas State Representative.
At the time he was arrested, Damien Jones smiled for his mug shot. Today, Jones was convicted of Coercion of a Public Servant for an anonymous threat texted to then-State Representative Gina Calanni. Harris County district attorney Kim Ogg, a Democrat, says he was attempting to coerce Calanni into resigning her House District 132 seat instead of seeking re-election.
At the time, Calanni represented portions of the Katy and Cypress areas. She won the Democratic primary but lost the general election. The dirty politics instigated by Jones happened during the Democratic primary and were unrelated to the general election that Calanni lost to her Republican challenger.
“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,” Ogg said. “We thank the jurors for their service.”
The threat was made on Dec. 2, 2019, just days before the 2020 primary election filing deadline. Calanni reported the threat to the Texas Department of Public Safety, which investigated the complaint in conjunction with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
Following a three-day trial, a judge sentenced Jones to one year of probation. He will also be required to complete a class on making good decisions and 30 hours of community service.
“This was a case of ambition that crossed the line into criminal conduct,” prosecutor Michael Levine said. “By trying to coerce a politician into resigning, he illegally sought to influence an election.”
“This goes beyond just expressing your opinion. This was a threat,” prosecutor Kimberly 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.”