Grassroots America addresses DPS memo, review of Smith County DA's office

Grassroots America addresses DPS memo, review of Smith County DA's office
JoAnn Fleming (Source: KLTV)

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Grassroots America - We the People Director JoAnn Fleming called a press conference for 1:30 p.m. today to address a DPS memo that involves a Smith County district attorney candidate.

The grassroots organization endorses Smith County Prosecutor Jacob Putman, who is a candidate for Smith County district attorney.

Fleming told KLTV she conducted her own investigation and presented her findings at the press conference.

You can see the documents and read press releases related to their release here.

Fleming said that anyone who signs off on incorrect time sheets is breaking the law and should be prosecuted. She referenced other counties that have experienced similar issues, such as the July 2017 incident Nacogdoches where a former Stephen F. Austin State University Police Department official said he attended an active shooter course when he did not.

Smith County district attorney candidate Alicia Barkley asked Fleming if she knew that Putman was going to present the information to the Texas Rangers. Fleming replied that she did not know.

"It is horrifying to me that one of my coworkers would file a report against me with the Texas Rangers solely for his own political gain. This entire event as you can imagine has been awful, a nightmare for my family and for me and obviously it still isn't over. After what we witnessed today as you can imagine those of you that know me I have a lot more to say, but since Jacob Putman and obviously now his supporter JoAnn Fleming has threatened to file a whistleblowers suit against Smith County and the Smith County DA's office I have been advised to make no further comments at this time.  But, it is really important to me if everybody knows nothing but this, that I thank you for from the bottom of my heart for supporting me" said First Assistant District Attorney April Sikes in response to the allegations.

Sikes said that she was advised to make no further comments about the memo or the documents and thanked her supporters.

"Grassroots American has NO knowledge of any whistleblower lawsuit being filed against Smith County, and we certainly are not a party to one," Fleming said.

The interoffice memo, written by a Texas Ranger, says that Putman met with the Texas Ranger at a fast food restaurant on Dec 9 to deliver a USB drive that Putman said shows criminal activity by Sikes.  Documents on that USB drive allegedly showed that  Sikes had "falsified government documents" and "violated campaign violation reporting requirements."

A second document released shows Texas Rangers reviewed the allegations and later found "insufficient evidence of any action that would warrant a criminal investigation."

The memo also says that Putman asked for "whistleblower' protection while handing over the USB drive.

Texas whistleblower laws are designed to protect employees from employer retaliation by making it illegal to fire or otherwise retaliate against an employee who reports an employer's illegal or unethical acts.

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