National

Perry Grand Juror Was An Active Democratic Party Delegate During Jury Proceedings

Policy

Rho Chalmers, who disclosed to the Houston Chronicle yesterday that she was a member of the grand jury that indicted Texas Gov. Rick Perry, was an active delegate to the Texas Democratic Party convention during grand jury proceedings. Chalmers’ active participation in Democratic state politics is important because she claimed yesterday to the Houston Chronicle that her decision to indict Perry, a Republican, was not based on politics.

“For me, it’s not a political decision,” Chalmers told the newspaper. “That’s what a grand jury is about – take the emotion out of it and look at the facts and make your best decision based on your life experience.”

More troubling, however, is the fact that Chalmers attended, photographed, and commented on an event with Democratic state Sen. Kirk Watson while grand jury proceedings were ongoing.

Watson was a witness in front of the grand jury. On June 27, 2014, Chalmers shared a photo of the Watson event on a community Facebook page she started called Developer’s Dungeon. “Senator Kirk Watson telling the story of the Wendy Davis fillibuster (sic),” she wrote in a comment accompanying the picture.

Rho Chalmers Kirk Watson Post

The grand jury was selected in April of 2014 and its proceedings did not conclude until it returned two indictments of Perry last week. While grand jurors are not generally prohibited from engaging in political activity, Chalmers’ apparent giddiness at attending an event for a grand jury witness calls into question her ability to objectively scrutinize his testimony. Watson had testified before Chalmers and the rest of her colleagues on the grand jury just one month before Chalmers attended his event. Knowingly seeking out participation in an event featuring a grand jury witness while grand jury proceedings were ongoing also seems highly questionable.

Numerous posts from both of Chalmers’ Facebook pages — her personal page, which she shares with her husband, Davis, and her “Developer’s Dungeon” page — make clear that she is a partisan Democratic activist, and that she was an active participant in the Texas Democratic Party’s state convention in June while grand jury proceedings were ongoing.

In one Facebook post on her personal page from June 28, she snapped a selfie showcasing her convention credentials.

Rho Chalmers TDPC Selfie

In a separate post on her “Developer’s Dungeon page,” Chalmers showcased her Texas Democratic Party convention credentials and bragged about her participation on the party’s Rules Committee.

“The Rules Committee was challenging but fun. A little over half a day to resolve everything but we ‘got er done’!” she wrote. She then liked and shared that post using her personal Facebook page, where she noted that she was “pleasantly surprised that I wasn’t completely lost on this committee.”

Rho Chalmers TDPC Credentials Rho Chalmers Rules Committee Pleasantly Surprised

Each of these posts was made while the grand jury was convened and its proceedings were ongoing.

Other Facebook activity from Chalmers also demonstrates her partisan political leanings. Her personal Facebook page shows that Chalmers “likes” the following Facebook groups: University Democrats, Central Austin Democrats, Black Austin Democrats, and South Travis United Democrats.

The University Democrats Facebook page crowed about Perry’s indictment shortly after it was announced.

Chalmers also implied support of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis in a post, photo, and comment from November 24, 2013.

Rho Chalmers Blue Texas Wendy Davis

“Wow, a blue Texas,” she wrote, referring to a national weather map from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“[C]oming soon when wendy davis wins!” commented one of her friends.

“[G]rin,” Chalmers replied.

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