Tuesday night the Houston Chronicle published a story about the grand jury that indicted Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Those grand jurors who spoke with the Chronicle broke the law to do so, and they knew that they were breaking the law. They claimed that they were speaking to the newspaper to counter Gov. Perry’s “spin” on the case.
That’s not the job of a grand jury, by the way.
One of them is a woman named Rho Chalmers. Chalmers tried to get around her lawbreaking by attempting to build this wall of implausible deniability.
Rho Chalmers, who name matches that of a grand juror but would only confirm her service on a jury that ended last week, said grand juries involve careful consideration of facts.
“For me, it’s not a political decision,” Chalmers said. “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.”
As I asked in the original post about this, how many “Rho Chalmers” can there be out there?
The answer is “not many,” as it’s an unusual name.
So let’s meet Rho Chalmers, Perry grand juror, and active delegate to the Texas Democratic Party’s state convention.
Mediatrackers picks up that story.
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.
Who goes to a state party convention? Party grassroots activists. Convention delegates are not your run-of-the-mill low-information voters. They’re true activists. Chalmers participated in the convention’s rules committee as well, which is about as arcane a party function as a person can possibly endure.
She posts pics of her convention credentials online, as if to brag about her participation in it.
There’s nothing wrong with being a party activist, of course. But Rho Chalmers was a very partisan Democrat activist from sharply partisan Travis County at the same time she was weighing whether to indict Gov. Rick Perry, Republican.
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.
Indeed. And then, after Chalmers helped indict a governor she clearly opposes politically, she participated in a story to counter the governor’s “spin.” That “spin” is otherwise known as his defense, which is something that the grand jury never heard from the prosecutor or the likes of Kirk Watson.
Chalmers has indicated support for Democrat Wendy Davis’ run for governor as well, on her social media. That’s over at the Mediatrackers site.
The indictment of Gov. Perry is a partisan operation from top to bottom. It’s backfiring on the Democrats now. A friend observed that it’s making Perry, who has been governor for 14 years and picked up his share of critics along the way, about as popular leaving office as he was when he first arrived in it.
But Rho Chalmers shows why the legal jeopardy to him is real.