A lurid series of graphic text messages, representing nearly a year of deeply emotional and revealing conversations, spooled out for the state to see when a woman shared her story of being in a relationship with a married legislator. Over the course of several weeks, she contacted several media outlets, providing access to her phone and the text messages themselves—including graphic photographs.

But within hours of the story she told being reported, even with her name withheld, she was suddenly claiming publicly to a flailing local newspaper not to be the person at the center of the statewide story.

Background

Last week, the news and satire website Current Revolt first reported allegations that show a series of sexually charged messages State Rep. Brooks Landgraf (R–Odessa) appears to have sent to various women.

The highly explicit messages, as reported by Current Revolt, were sent both over text messages as well as private messages sent from Landgraf’s social media account. They contain pictures of Landgraf—a married father—and a voice recording the lawmaker sent as part of a lengthy iMessage thread.

In several of the exchanges, Landgraf is asked if he can arrange a meeting between one of the women and various officeholders, including Gov. Greg Abbott and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.

In other messages, Landgraf is seen to be attempting to arrange sexual encounters between the two in the Austin area and elsewhere and asking for pornographic images and videos of the woman.

Tiffany Wilson

On Tuesday, Odessa American ran a story highlighting a woman named Tiffany Wilson, who claimed to be the woman pictured in the nude images in the text message exchanges. It is important to note that Wilson’s name was never used in any reporting by Current Revolt or Texas Scorecard

As a matter of editorial policy, Texas Scorecard avoids reporting the names of victimized women.

However, Odessa American—a local newspaper with declining readership but editorial loyalty to incumbent power brokers in political office—reported that Wilson claimed she had “never been involved in an affair with the married legislator and has never sent him nude photos or video.” Wilson also said she had hired an attorney, adding that the “truth needs to come out.”

Wilson’s statements, however, are in direct contradiction to her previous statements and actions.

In the week prior to Current Revolt’s report, Wilson met with a reporter from Odessa Headlines and shared the entire text exchange that later appeared on the internet—including the nude photos of her and the voice memo and pictures of Landgraf.

During the meeting, Wilson claimed she first met Landgraf at an event in October of 2020. She says they later went to a hotel, where they had sex.

“She went on to describe how extremely lewd the phone relationship evolved, and that the only reason she went along with much of it was that she needed someone to talk to,” explains Matt Stringer of Odessa Headlines, who has also released multiple clips of audio of his meeting with Wilson, in which she details how they met as well as the lewd requests from Landgraf.

As seen in the various reports, the Landgraf-Wilson relationship allegedly took place through a year-long string of often sexually charged text messages. In her meeting with Odessa Headlines, Wilson said she was in a “dark place” at the time and indicated that Landgraf recognized she was vulnerable.

She also confirmed that she had repeatedly asked Landgraf to help her meet Gov. Greg Abbott, though she claimed she never acted on Landgraf’s offer to arrange a meeting.

Wilson then expressed interest in getting her story out to the statewide media. She was referred to Texas Scorecard and expressed gratitude for the introduction and a willingness to share information. Wilson had already previously indicated that she had given the video to at least one other person.

Later, however, a video of the lewd text message thread she had previously shared with Stringer in person was published online by Current Revolt. As a result, Texas Scorecard reported on Current Revolt’s story.

Despite not being named in either article, however, Wilson sent late-night messages to Current Revolt, Texas Scorecard, and Odessa Headlines, threatening to sue over the stories. Wilson claimed, “That is not my messages you have blasted all over the internet.”

(In a bizarre turn of events, Wilson offered the next day to share her story with Texas Scorecard, an offer that was declined due to her previous threat of legal action.)

Brooks Landgraf 

Landgraf refused to deny the allegations multiple times when confronted with them during a candidate forum in Odessa this week, only saying that “the truth always comes out.”

After the allegations were released last week, Winkler County Sheriff Darin Mitchell emailed Landgraf to withdraw his support, citing reporting from Texas Scorecard and saying he “cannot and will not endorse anyone that has allegations as these.” 

“If these allegations are found to be true, you need to resign immediately,” he wrote.

Mitchell added that if the allegations are found to be false, he hopes there would be “repercussions for the source of these allegations.”

Mitchell has since said he will vote for Landgraf, despite pulling his endorsement.

The Ector County Republican Party is reportedly considering censuring Landgraf over the scandal.

A Deeper Scandal

A great many questions, and lingering rumors, remain. Landgraf is not new to rumors of extramarital liaisons. Capitol staff have whispered about his exploits for several years, notably involving at least one Capitol employee.

More interesting, though, are the sudden reversals and re-reversals of the woman at the center of the Current Revolt and Odessa Headlines reporting and conversations. When not sharing lewd pictures or discussing sexual fantasies, what emerges in the text messages shared by Current Revolt is a vulnerable single mother in a dark place. The text messages mention problems at work, struggles with her children, and concerns about her own future.

Was she pressured to recant? And if so, by whom?

The scandal she shopped around has, at a minimum, succeeded in scandalizing herself and her family. Like many powerful men before, Landgraf appears poised to skate politically past the incident; he hasn’t lost the endorsement of Gov. Greg Abbott, and Austin-based lobby groups have not demanded he return their money.

Perhaps the most revealing scandal—the scandal voters see and ignore—is that Austin’s Capitol culture protects and rewards its own. Even, or perhaps especially, to the detriment of vulnerable women.

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens

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