While government officials across the state ordered citizens to “stay home” over the last few months, one Central Texas county judge has pleaded guilty for disregarding his own decree.
According to court documents released Tuesday, Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell will have to pay a $1,000 fine for violating his own stay-at-home order, a Class C misdemeanor. Gravell, who had ordered citizens to stop gatherings for fear of the Chinese coronavirus, was caught on camera in April visiting his grandson’s birthday party dressed up in a county fireman’s suit.
According to the complaint filed against him, Gravell had asked an off-duty sheriff’s deputy to drive him first to the fire department to borrow the protective gear, then to the party.
Gravell says he had done so in order to “surprise [his grandson] because he had not seen him in some weeks,” according to the complaint filed by Georgetown attorney Robert McCabe.
Ironically, the incident occurred on April 7, the same day Gravell extended the countywide stay-at-home order until April 30.
The original complaint actually alleged Gravell committed criminal offenses and drew a special prosecutor to the case, as well as a Texas Rangers investigation. However, according to the plea bargain agreement, while Gravell will have to pay a $1,000 fine, the other charges will be dropped.
“The State of Texas agrees to Decline, with prejudice, and prosecution of the remaining charges of Abuse of Official Capacity and Official Oppression as set out in the complaint in this cause,” read the agreement.