Denton County Sheriff Faces Bribery Allegations - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Denton County Sheriff Faces Bribery Allegations

Texas Rangers investigate allegations that sheriff tried to bribe former political opponent



    The Texas Rangers are investigating Denton County Sheriff Will Travis after allegations that he tried to bribe two people with jobs. (Published Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013)

    The Denton County sheriff faces multiple allegations that he tried to bribe a former county employee and a former political opponent.

    An affidavit released by the Denton County District Court confirms that the Texas Rangers have been investigating Sheriff Will Travis since April.

    The court document asks for a warrant to seize and search the cellphone of Denton County Constable Jesse Flores, who ran against Travis in 2012.

    According to the affidavit, several people, including a retired law enforcement officer, a former Denton County sheriff's deputy, and two police officers who worked with Flores at the Lewisville Police Department, said Flores told them that Travis had offered him a position in the sheriff's department if he dropped out of the race and Travis won.

    One Lewisville police officer told Rangers that "Flores would be lying if he stated Travis did not offer him a job."

    In several interviews, Flores denied the offer was ever made, according to the affidavit. But Flores' answers to questions were vague at one point, the investigator said.

    Travis also denied the allegations, according to the affidavit.

    According to the affidavit, the Ranger asked Flores several times to turn over messages between him and Travis during the election that were on his phone. Flores was also asked to take a polygraph, but he refused, saying the Ranger was conducting a "witch hunt" and was cooperative.

    The affidavit also describes allegations that Travis tried to bribe Kevin Bragg, a former deputy, with a job.

    Bragg had a civil lawsuit against the department and a former sheriff. The affidavit suggests that Travis was determined to end the suit.

    The court document includes an email reportedly from Travis to Bragg that says:

    "If you did file a suit and you want to come back to work at Denton County Sheriff's Office a couple of things need to be done? The law suit has to be dropped and I have to see a judgment reflecting this."

    [Eds. Note: The punctuation and spelling of lawsuit are in the original document.]

    When asked about the email, Travis told investigators, "You can't hire a person in the county if they have a lawsuit against the county. My only intent, I guess, I should have finished it out. You can't get hired by the county ... If you have a lawsuit, you're done."

    Travis told investigators that Bragg never applied for the job.

    A Denton County District Court judge signed a search warrant on Thursday that orders officers to seize Flores' phone within three days to be examined.

    No charges have been filed in the matter.

    Messages left for Travis' attorney and Flores were not returned.