Since the dawn of mass media a century ago, villains have always sought to control how people think and act by controlling what they are allowed to know. Yesterday, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled for the villains.
The villain the court invited to stand on its shoulders is McLennan County Criminal District Attorney Abelino “Abel” Reyna. Reyna has emerged as the tyrant in charge of the coverup of the Twin Peaks Massacre in Waco last May 17. He may be a tyrant on behalf of the something bigger than himself, like the FBI, ATF, Homeland Security or Texas Rangers. It is at least as likely that he just likes how it feels to tyrannize.
A couple of events conjoined in the last week to illustrate Reyna’s talent for nullifying the Bill of Rights. First The Associated Press synopsized and published about 8,800 pages of evidence that has, possibly, been turned over to attorneys in one of the 177 criminal cases or four, current civil cases related to the Massacre. Nobody knows who leaked the information. The AP ran its story without a byline in order to protect both its reporter and her sources.
The AP story referenced a 724-page police incident report and a 430-page Texas Department of Public Safety report that describe at least some of what happened in Waco on May 17. The reports are unlikely to contain the whole truth because they were both written by police. But the Waco police report does state that police “struck multiple suspects with their patrol rifles,” and the Texas Department of Public Safety report states that Reyna ordered the majority of bikers detained that day to be arrested and overcharged. “DA Abel Reyna and his staff told authorities at the convention center that if a person was wearing a patch, clothing or insignia that indicated support for the Bandidos or Cossacks, he or she should be charged with engaging in organized crime.”
Reyna responded publically to the AP story. “The fact that someone violated their ethical and legal obligations and the fact that the ultra-liberal AP is printing that material is evidence to me that my office is alone in trying to protect these individual’s constitutional right to a fair trial,” Reyna said in a written statement. “Our focus in the Twin Peaks matter will remain on the facts and the law and not the ridiculousness occurring all around it.”
Gag Order For Some
One problem with Reyna’s statement is that he was forbidden by a court order from making it. Since June, at Reyna’s insistence, attorneys in the case have been gagged. The most loquacious of them is a Dallas lawyer named Clint Broden and Broden has been fighting the gag order every step of the way. Broden has also mastered the art of speaking to the world at large by means of official court filings and the other day, after the AP ran its story and Reyna issued his official, angry lie about protecting his victims by silencing them, Broden filed yet another motion to lift the gag order.
What has occurred and what is occurring in relation to the gag order is very transparent to even the casual observer,” Broden wrote. “Immediately after the May 17, 2015 incident,” Reyna “ personally, along with other state actors sought to fill the public’s mind with pictures of roving ‘outlaw biker gangs’ and, only when they believed that they sufficiently accomplished that task,” Reyna “requested a gag order.”
Broden cited Reyna’s written statement and noted that it wasn’t exactly unprecedented. “This is not the first time…Reyna has violated the gag order he seeks this Court to enforce using equitable principles. On or about July 8, 2015, Mr. Reyna gave a press interview discussing the selection of the grand jury foreperson for the grand jury that could possibly consider Mr. (Matt) Clendennen’s case. During that interview, Mr. Ryna told the media: ‘That’s the system. He was chosen totally
at random, like. the law says.’
“Attorneys were denied their free speech rights under the United States and Texas Constitutions,” Broden complained to the appeals court, “but he was free to continue to make statements to the press.”
Almost immediately Reyna issued another official statement in response to Broden’s motion. He told Waco television station KXXV, “The allegation that I violated the gag order in any form or fashion is just another example of the ridiculousness I referred to in my statement.”
Yesterday the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals refused to either lift the gag order or compel Reyna to abide by it. “In this procedural position, we decline to act; based on the complaint raised by the real party in interest (the defense), the trial court is the proper venue for review of alleged violations of its gag order.”
This time Reyna had no comment.