HOUSTON (CN) – An assistant district attorney in Fort Bend County maliciously prosecuted six people in an attempt to help a friend in a business dispute, and because the friend contributed to the political campaign of the prosecutor’s wife, the six claim in Federal Court.
“Plaintiffs will show that Defendants conspired to and did maliciously procure criminal charges against them, filed a groundless civil case against them, and violated their civil rights in an attempt to gain an advantage in a business dispute which is the subject of other litigation,” the “Summary of Action” of the 17-page filing states.
The six plaintiffs sued Fort Bend County, its Assistant District Attorney Michael W. Elliott, and Brent M. Holden, who runs a roofing company.
They claim Elliott and Holden conspired against them to benefit Holden’s wife, Annie R. Elliott, who was Republican candidate for Fort Bend County District Clerk.
The plaintiffs quit working for Holden Roofing and sued Holden on Feb. 1, 2006, seeking a declaration that they were not bound by non-compete agreements.
They claim that on Feb. 2, 2006, Holden gave a $1,000 contribution to Annie Elliott’s campaign, at that that very day, “Elliott accompanied Holden to the Rosenberg Police Department to begin a so-called ‘collateral criminal investigation’ – presumably ‘collateral’ to the then-pending civil litigation.”
They claim Holden later loaned Annie Elliott a Hummer to use in her political campaign.
They claim that “During the course of the criminal investigation against Plaintiffs, the Rosenberg Police Department did not interview any witnesses. All witness interviews were done by a private investigator hired by Holden’s and Holden Roofing’s civil attorney. The discovery process in the civil case was used to procure so-called ‘evidence’ against Plaintiffs for use in the criminal investigation. …
“When Holden and Holden Roofing did not prevail on its initial civil actions against Plaintiffs, Elliott acquiesced to Holden’s demand that off of his former employees – Plaintiffs – be arrested on criminal charges. The Plaintiffs were charged with ‘organized criminal activity,’ were arrested, and posted bond to obtain their release.”
Holden then had them charged again, with “money laundering.” Holden obtained both indictments without revealing his close ties to Elliott and his self-interest in the case, the plaintiffs say. They say the district attorney dismissed all the charges on Nov. 2, 2007.
Plaintiffs punitive demand damages for violation of their civil rights, civil and criminal malicious prosecution, interference with prospective business relations, defamation and distress. They are represented by Lindeman, Alvarado & Frye.