Fort Worth voters may have been hoping to give State Rep. Charlie Geren the benefit of the doubt that he was not involved in a vicious attack on his opponent’s family. But Geren’s recent denial of involvement tends to implicate, rather than exonerate, the embattled Republican.
Geren is being challenged in the March Republican primary by Fort Worth businessman Bo French. The race is a high-profile rematch after French came up short during the 2016 election.
As he challenges Geren at the ballot box, French is suing David Sorensen, a Fort Worth Democratic political operative who was hired by Geren’s campaign during the last election. In French’s suit, he alleges Sorensen made an anonymous call to Child Protective Services falsely alleging that French was abusing his children. Although he was ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing, French says the phony call resulted in months of harassment from CPS.
It might have been inferred that Geren and his political operatives would have had knowledge of Sorensen’s actions. But until a couple of weeks ago, Geren had not commented on the scandal and there was no direct proof that he directed the vicious attack.
However, just before Christmas, Geren took to social media to complain of “campaign attacks coming from my opponent” and to issue a statement denying involvement or knowledge of the call to CPS.
But an implausible claim contained in the denial is raising skepticism about the truth of Geren’s protests.
In his statement, Geren claims he knows “no more about the particulars of [French]’s lawsuit than the one account that has been in the paper.
That statement cannot be accurate.
Prior to filing suit, French went to court in Tarrant County seeking pre-suit depositions of Sorensen and other Geren campaign operatives about their involvement with the call. According to sources familiar with that litigation, which dragged on for months, the litigation became the talk of the Tarrant County courthouse as Sorensen and the others scrambled to find lawyers to represent them.
Allegedly Sorensen spent weeks attempting to hire several high-profile Fort Worth law firms to represent him in the matter, including Kelly, Hart, & Hallman, but was repeatedly turned down due to conflicts.
It is not credible for Geren to claim he was unaware of these lawsuits against his campaign staff or that his staff was attempting to hire every big law firm in town to represent them in the matter. Geren simply did not learn about the scandal from a newspaper article that ran months later.
With that in mind, voters should ask themselves whether they believe Geren’s denial at all, especially given his recent problems with the truth.
If Geren is lying about how he learned about the scandal, then what else is he lying about?

Tony McDonald

Tony McDonald serves as General Counsel to Texas Scorecard. A licensed and practicing attorney, Tony specializes in the areas of civil litigation, legislative lawyering, and non-profit regulatory compliance. Tony resides in Austin with his wife and daughter and attends St. Paul Lutheran Church.