Texas judge accused of misspending $25,000 in campaign funds
HOUSTON (AP) - A Texas judge is facing fraud charges for allegedly spending campaign money on personal expenses.
Prosecutors say Harris County Judge Alexandra Smoots-Thomas misused nearly $25,000 in campaign funds between January 2016 and March 2017. The indictment unsealed Friday shows she spent that money on a home mortgage, private school tuition, jewelry and travel.
The 44-year-old Smoots-Thomas pleaded not guilty Friday after she turned herself in to U.S. Magistrate Peter Bray.
The indictment says Smoots-Thomas concealed the personal expenses from her campaign treasurer at the time.
Attorney Kent Schaffer said Smoots-Thomas didn't defraud anybody. He said federal prosecutors are targeting her because she's a black female Democrat.
Smoots-Thomas presides over the 164th District Court and has jurisdiction over civil cases in Harris County.
A pretrial conference is set for Jan. 6.
Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Cameron County officials urge community to do their part to stop spread...
McAllen hospice center increases COVID-19 precautions
Woman warns others of COVID-19 vaccine spam calls targeting UTRGV patients
New Texas district boundary lines underway, advocates concerned
Immigration attorney weighs in on Department of Justice's report on 2018 zero-tolerance...