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Wed Sep 23, 2015, 02:00 AM

Follow-up: Travis County Can't Stop Privately Funded Prosecutions

AUSTIN -- Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt blasted the funding deal that allows a giant insurance company to pay for criminal prosecutions of its fraud cases, but said Tuesday that the Commissioners Court is powerless to stop it.

“I think that arrangement is highly suspect and a complete derogation of the duties of the state to ensure that our workers' compensation system is fair,” said Eckhardt, a Democrat. “That is the law, however, and I think this Commissioners Court should continue to pursue a better system from our state.”

Eckhardt and the commissioners met in executive session Tuesday to discuss the contract between privately-held Texas Mutual Insurance and the office of District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, an arrangement revealed by The Texas Tribune and the Austin American-Statesman after a six-month investigation. After emerging from behind closed doors, the Commissioners Court took no action, which puts the ball back in Lehmberg’s court.

Lehmberg, a Democrat, remained tight-lipped, saying only, “we have a lot of work to do.” But Eckhardt said Lehmberg and Assistant District Attorney Gregg Cox, who oversees the privately-funded unit, “are keenly interested in negotiating in a much higher degree of transparency than is currently in there.”

Read more: http://www.texastribune.org/2015/09/22/travis-county-cant-stop-privately-funded-prosecuti/

Earlier threads:
Justice for hire? Giant insurer pays government lawyers to pursue fraud charges
Follow-up: Officials Want Review of Privately Funded Prosecutions

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