Contempt Charges against Texas AG Are Thrown out of Court

12 September 2000
Contempt charges against Texas state Attorney General John Cornyn and two members of his staff were overturned Friday by the 1st Court of Appeals. The charges stem from an ongoing investigation of, whose offices were raided in late June during an investigation of the company's business dealings with Internet gambling sites.

Monetize officials maintain that the company is a legitimate business working completely within state and federal laws. Attorney General Cornyn, however, suggests that Monetize, which ran a search portal that linked to various e-gaming sites, received a share of the gambling sites' profits in payment. Following the raid on their offices, Monetize filed a lawsuit in a Texas civil court demanding the items' return. Cornyn refused on the basis that any appeals should have been made in the criminal court since the original warrants were initiated there. The refusal resulted in contempt of court charges against Cornyn and his two associates, Assistant Attorney General Reed Lockhoof and Sergeant Investigator Steven Acker.

"I knew justice would prevail," Attorney General Cornyn. "It was bogus charges in the first place." Cornyn says that Monetize's attorney shopped around for a judge that would be favorable to his client's case instead of appealing in the correct court, an effort Cornyn called a "heavy-handed tactic."

Monetize officials haven't been charged with any crimes yet, but authorities have seized reams of documents and computer-equipment, leaving Monetize virtually unable to conduct business. The case will be heard before the grand jury, which is investigating allegations of gambling activities that are illegal in Texas and possible money laundering charges.

Attorney Rusty Hardin, who represents Monetize, denied the company's involvement in illegal gambling activities. "That's why the attorney general's office can't find anybody to prosecute this case. It's the dumbest investigation I've seen in 25 years," he told the Houston Chronicle.

Cornyn's office reportedly has asked several county district attorneys to jump aboard the case against Monetize. Hardin says that none of the district attorneys sees merit in the case and that all have declined Cornyn's invitation.