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D-1-GN-18-006406

CAUSE

10/23/2018 10:06 PM Velva L. Price District Clerk Travis County

D-1-GN-18-006406

Victoria Benavides

DAWNNA DUKES

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IN THE DISTRICT COURT

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PLAINTIFF, Pro Se

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MARGARGET MOORE, as Travis County

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District Attorney and as an Individual,

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GREGG COX, as DA employee and as an

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Individual

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SUSAN OSWALD, formally Public Integrity § Within DA Ofc., and as an Individual

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ROSEMARY LEHMBERG, as former Travis

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County District Attorney and as an Individual,

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ROBERT SMITH, the State Auditor

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201ST

THE AMERICAN STATESMAN, a Corp.,

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JUDICIAL DISTRICT

SEAN COLLINS WALSH, in his capacity

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as a writer for The American Statesman and

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Individually,

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MICHAEL FRENCH, an Individual

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(former Capitol Legislative Dir. to Plaintiff),

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VANISHA WEATHERSPOON,

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an Individual (former Legislative Aide), and

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KIYA MOGHADDAM, an Individual (former

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Community Outreach Aide to Plaintiff,

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DEFENDANTS

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TRAVIS COUNTY, TEXAS

ORIGINAL PETITION FOR CONSPIRACY TO DEFAME

PLANTIFF BY MALICIOUS CRIMINAL PROSECUTION

INTRODUCTION

PLAINTIFF, DAWNNA DUKES, an individual, hereinafter called Plaintiff, sues

The following DEFENDANTS , hereinafter called Defendants, for Conspiracy to Defame Plaintiff by participating

in and/or aiding and abetting Malicious Criminal Prosecution by committing libelous acts and malice aforethought

by making statements with knowledge of its falsity or with reckless disregard for the truth which resulted in the

defamation of Plaintiff’s good character and reputation causing her extreme emotional distress, loss of livelihood,

DAWNNA DUKES vs. MARGARET MOORE, ET AT CAUSE

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financial hardships, and loss of a legacy that she painstakingly earned by providing twenty-four (24) years of

exemplary and faithful service as the Texas State Representative of Districts 50 and 46 to her community, her state,

and her country (see Attached Exhibit A (examples of public perspective even after dismissal) which is incorporated

by reference as if set out in full text).

Defendants:

1. MARGARGET MOORE, as Travis County District Attorney and as an Individual,

2. ROSEMARY LEHMBERG, as former Travis County District Attorney and as an Individual,

3. ROBERT SMITH, Investigator with the State Auditor, and as an Individual,

4. GATEHOUSE MEDIA, Owner of THE AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN, a major daily Newspaper Corporation, or current owner of The Austin American Statesman

5. SEAN COLLINS WALSH, in his capacity as a writer for The American Statesman and Individually,

6. MICHAEL FRENCH, an Individual (former Capitol Legislative Director to Plaintiff),

7. VANISHA WEATHERSPOON, an Individual (former Legislative Aide), and

8. KIYA MOGHADDAM, an Individual (former Community Outreach Aide).

Plaintiff, alleges that the aforementioned Defendants conspired to defame Plaintiff and participated in

and/or instigated malicious and reckless acts in furtherance of a malicious criminal prosecution

campaign against Plaintiff that ended in the dismissal of all charges against Plaintiff but succeeded in

ruining Plaintiff’s reputation, her bid for re-election, as well as the loss of business contracts that had

been awarded to Plaintiff and/or Plaintiff’s family members.

Further, the untrue accusations were

maliciously spread methodically by Defendants using concerted methods including but not limited to

social media, texts, in person, investigative reports, newspaper articles, and phone calls to harass family,

friends, associates and business institutions related to Plaintiff with intent to defame Plaintiff and cause

harm to her financially.

This constant relay of false information eventually resulted in the cancellation

of Plaintiff’s credit cards creating an inability for Plaintiff to use credit to which she was entitled but

DAWNNA DUKES vs. MARGARET MOORE, ET AT CAUSE

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was deprived of not because of nonpayment but because of the defamation of her character.

The

Plaintiff experienced further financial difficulty because she loss the ability to enter into new

professional contracts which were her primary source of income.

Plaintiff’s loss of income due to the

investigation and consequential prosecution based on false allegations created an inability for Plaintiff

to pay outstanding debts which resulted in the foreclosure of Plaintiff’s homestead and of her East Austin

commercial properties, repossession of her automobile, destruction of Plaintiff’s credit rating (inability

to maintain or attain credit).

The intentional infliction of emotional distress resulted in deep mental

anguish which includes but is not limited to anxiety and depression brought on by having to endure the

undue financial and emotional harm to herself and her family members which includes her parents, sister,

daughter, and son.

The trauma due to financial hardships and loss of reputation aggravated Plaintiff’s

health issues and, to this day, there is still a lingering inconsolable grief caused by her substantial loss.

Plaintiff would show the following in support thereof:

CAUSE OF ACTION 1 MALICIOUS PROSECUTION

The essential elements of a claim for malicious prosecution are: (1) the institution of proceedings

against the Plaintiff; (2) by or at the insistence of the Defendant; (3) malice in the commencement of the

proceeding; (4) lack of probable cause for the proceeding; (5) termination of the proceeding in Plaintiff’s

favor; and (6) damages to the Plaintiff. (Tex. Beef Cattle Co. v. Green, 921 S.W.2d 203, 207 (Tex. 1996).

CAUSE OF ACTION 2 ABUSE OF PROCESS

The essential elements of a claim for the tort of abuse of process are (1) there was an illegal,

improper, or perverted use of the legal process, neither warranted nor authorized by the legal process,

(2) there was an ulterior motive or purpose in exercising such use, and (3) there was damage as a result

of the illegal act.

Graham v. Mary Kay, Inc., 25 S.W.3d 749, 756 (Tex. App. Houston [14 th Dist.]

2000, pet denied).

Abuse of process is the malicious misuse or misapplication of legal process in order

to accomplish an ulterior purpose.

DAWNNA DUKES vs. MARGARET MOORE, ET AT CAUSE

Baubles & Beads v. Louis Vuitton, S.A., 766 S.W.2d 377, 378 (Tex

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App Texarkana 1989, no writ).

Defendants conspired to facilitate Plaintiff’s conviction for charges that were based on untrue

statements but were ultimately dismissed.

The charges filed against Plaintiff were illegal because they

were based on false statements that had been proven false before the charges were filed; the charges

were improper, not warranted or authorized by the legal process.

The

Defendants,

MICHAEL

FRENCH,

VANISHA

WEATHERSPOON,

AND

KIYA

MOGHADDAM were employees of the Plaintiff.

They initiated an investigation against Plaintiff

based on fabricated physical evidence with which they had tampered.

They submitted travel forms

upon which the felony indictments were based; however, the documents they submitted contained

Plaintiff’s cut and pasted signature that had been ripped from another form.

They further conspired by

erasing data from State computers and databases to cover up their malicious plot.

They presented these

falsified documents to multiple State authorities and lied in affidavits about the responsibilities required

of them.

Defendant ROBERT SMITH, maliciously withheld crucial definitions regarding the rules and

regulations that would have exonerated Plaintiff from the very beginning and eliminated the defamation

of her reputation.

He knew or should have known the definition of rules per the House Policy Manual

regarding per diem, sick leave, paid time off, working away from the office, etc., as well as the customary

practices of House members.

Plaintiff had clearly complied with reimbursement and voucher rules.

ROBERT SMITH, initiated an investigation based on the false allegations from MICHAEL FRENCH,

VANISHA WEATHERSPOON, AND KIYA MOGHADDAM and proceeded to request search warrants

for the telecommunication records for Plaintiff’s phone, bank statements, emails, and countless other

documents which led to the conclusion from the Texas Ranger, Richard D. Henderson, and other law

enforcement officers that, based on the expertise of ROBERT SMITH, probable cause did exist to continue

DAWNNA DUKES vs. MARGARET MOORE, ET AT CAUSE

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the search for evidence of wrong doing.

ROBERT SMITH did not include in his comments, written

reports, or written request the customary rules that if applied as usual, would allow the dismissal of any

allegations. (see Attached Exhibit B (Affidavit for Search Warrant) which is incorporated by reference as if set

out in full text).

Defendants ROSEMARY LEHMBERG AND MARGARET MOORE abused the judicial

process by pursuing a prosecution when, before the charges were filed, they had evidence which

supported a statement made by MARGARET MOORE on the day of dismissal stating that “the charges

should never have been filed.(see Exhibit C which is incorporated by reference as if set out in full

text.).

Instead, after requesting search warrants, submitting open record requests, confiscating

Plaintiff’s phone, and reviewing emails and other documents submitted by Plaintiff to prove the

allegations were false, MARGARET MOORE maliciously refiled the felony charge and retained the

misdemeanor charges in hope that she could get Plaintiff to resign. Further, MARGARET MOORE

scheduled multiple hearings in order to cause Plaintiff to expend considerable finances (which Plaintiff

did) in the hopes that Plaintiff would not be able to afford to defend herself and lose by default (which

did not happen). When it was determined that the charges could not be substantiated by evidence and

the cases would have to be dismissed, MARGARET MOORE announced in a press conference that she

felt

that because Plaintiff would have to reimburse her legislative staff for tasks undertaken (untrue),

and that Plaintiff had made restitution to the State in the amount of $1340.00 (untrue) then that was

evidence of wrongdoing and that Plaintiff’s hands were not completely clean (untrue).

MARGARET

MOORE again intentionally misstated the facts and maliciously continued her character assignation

verbiage even though she knew the case should never have been filed. (see Exhibit E which is

incorporated by reference as if set out in full text.)

Defendant SEAN COLLINS WALSH, an employee and representative of The Austin American

Statesman which is owned by Defendant GATEHOUSE MEDIA, specifically printed the information

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in the Austin American Statesman and on social media utilizing leaked information received from the

other Defendants with no regard to the actual truth of the matter being asserted.

This resulted in what

amounted to a “hatchet job” culminating in numerous articles written by the Defendant defaming

Plaintiff’s character that was rerun across social media, national news, and world new.

Further, he

recklessly and maliciously disregarded the consequences of promoting a perspective that was based on

a known lie and supported the conclusion that Plaintiff had committed the crimes of which she had been

accused.

Upon discovering the information was untrue, a retraction, although requested by Plaintiff,

was never printed.

JURISDICTION AND PARTIES

At all times mentioned in this Petition, Plaintiff was, and now is, a resident of Pflugerville, Travis

County, Texas.

This Court has jurisdiction pursuant to Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.

action for more than $100,000.00.

This is an

1. At all times mentioned in this complaint, Plaintiff was, has been, and now is a good citizen, known to

neighbors and acquaintances to have behaved and conducted herself in a becoming manner all her life.

2. Defendants, maliciously intending to cause Plaintiff unjustly to suffer punishment, to be deprived of her

liberty, and to be ruined as a politician in Austin, Travis County, Texas, maliciously conspired to falsely

accuse Plaintiff, by means of giving false testimony to officials, and/or relying on unsubstantiated

allegations when reporting news to the public, and/or omitting evidence that would have shown Plaintiff’s

innocence from information given to Plaintiff’s attorneys, and/or misstating facts in order to bolster false

allegations.

Defendants conspired using various tactics intending to have Plaintiff indicted and convicted

of violating Texas Penal Code Sec. 39.02, Abuse of Official Capacity, Texas Penal Code Sec. 37.10,

Tampering with Governmental Record, and the offense of Theft by Public Servant under the laws of the

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State of Texas which carried a punishment of, not only a loss of Plaintiff’s reputation and hefty fine, but

also imprisonment.

3. Defendants Michael French, Vanisha Witherspoon, and Kiya Moghaddam submitted perjured testimony in

which defendants maliciously accused Plaintiff, without probable cause, of the above-mentioned crimes in

statements to law enforcement and as a result the grand jury returned an indictment for two (2) felony

charges as follows: Abuse of Official Capacity, Tampering with Governmental Record, and Plaintiff was

charged with the misdemeanor Theft by Public Servant. Plaintiff case was eventually set for trial in these

matters based on the following:

Defendant, Kiya Moghaddam, gave perjured testimony to investigator, Robert Smith of the Texas

State Auditor’s Office in Austin, Texas against Plaintiff, alleging Plaintiff tampered with

government records by submitting State of Texas travel vouchers reflecting per diem claims for

dates she was not at the Capitol.

Moghaddam, stated, among other things, that the per diem

requests included Thursday and Friday dates when she delivered mail packets to the Plaintiff at her

personal residence.

This was not true.

And when in truth and in fact, as she well knew, and as

Richard Smith should have known but did not declare, that Texas State Statutes define the rules

governing State Representatives and none had been violated. The Defendant intentionally and

maliciously miscategorized the facts by making misleading and false statements while participating

in a conspiracy to defame the Plaintiff and thereby enabling the Prosecutor to proceed with a

malicious prosecution that would have resulted in convicting the Defendant of crimes she did not

commit.

Michael French worked for Plaintiff for four (4) months October 14, 2015 thru January 14, 2016.

On or about June 17, 2016, five (5) months after he was terminated, Defendant Michael French

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alleged that Plaintiff directed state employee personnel to plan, coordinate, and solicit donations

benefitting the African American Community Heritage Festival while on State time which

precipitated the Auditor’s Office opening an investigation of Plaintiff on February 5, 2016.

On

March 28, 2016, Richard Smith from the State Auditor’s Office met with the Travis County District

Attorney’s Office to present preliminary finds and requested assistance obtaining subpoenas and

search warrants. The Defendants intentionally and maliciously miscategorized the facts by making

misleading and false statements while participating in a conspiracy to defame the Plaintiff and

thereby enabling the Prosecutor to proceed with a malicious prosecution that would have resulted

in convicting the Defendant of crimes she did not commit.

Vanisha Weatherspoon for approximately one (1) year January 1, 2015 thru January 31, 2016.

On or about January 13, 2017, the Defendant Vanisha Weatherspoon to law enforcement that

Plaintiff expected her to use her personal vehicle to run personal errands for Plaintiff as a part of

her state employee duties.

The Defendant intentionally and maliciously miscategorized the facts

by making misleading and false statements while participating in a conspiracy to defame the

Plaintiff and thereby enabling the Prosecutor to proceed with a malicious prosecution that would

have resulted in convicting the Defendant of crimes she did not commit.

4. On October 23, 2017, in the 450 th Judicial District Court of Travis County, Texas, in The State vs. Dawnna

M. Dukes, Case No. D1DC-17-900005, the charge of Abuse of an Official Capacity was dismissed against

the Plaintiff, and the court ordered plaintiff discharged.

as if set out in full text.)

(see attached Exhibit D incorporated by reference

5. On October 23, 2017, in the 450 th Judicial District Court of Travis County, Texas, in The State vs. Dawnna

M. Dukes, Case No. D1DC-16-900178, the charge of Tampering with Government Records was dismissed

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against the Plaintiff, and the court ordered plaintiff discharged. (see attached Exhibit D incorporated by

reference as if set out in full text.)

6. On October 23, 2017, in the 450 th Judicial District Court of Travis County, Texas, in The State vs. Dawnna

M. Dukes, Case No. D1DC-17-904011, the charge of Tampering with Government Records was dismissed

against the Plaintiff, and the court ordered plaintiff discharged. (see attached Exhibit D incorporated by

reference as if set out in full text.)

7. On October 23, 2017, in the 450 th Judicial District Court of Travis County, Texas, in The State vs. Dawnna

M. Dukes, Case No. D1DC-16-900177, the charge of Abuse of Official Capacity was dismissed against the

Plaintiff, and the court ordered plaintiff discharged. (see attached Exhibit D incorporated by reference as if

set out in full text.)

8. Because of Defendants’ wrongful and defamatory acts, Plaintiff has suffered great mental anguish, and has

been forced to expend in excess of the sum of $187,000.00 of attorney’s fees and court costs, in defending

herself, and has been greatly injured in credit and personal and business circumstances, all to plaintiff’s

damage in the sum of $7,800,000.00.

9. In committing the acts alleged in this complaint, Defendants acted with malice toward Plaintiff, and Plaintiff

is therefore entitled to recover from Defendants exemplary and/or punitive damages in such amount as will

sufficiently punish Defendants for their willful and malicious conduct and as well will serve as an example

to prevent a repetition of such conduct in the future.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff requests judgment against Defendants, and each of them, jointly and singly, for the

following:

1. General compensatory damages in the amount of $7,800.000.00 of compensatory

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damages]/according to proof;

2. Exemplary/Punitive damages in such amount as will sufficiently punish defendants for their willful and

malicious conduct and as will serve as an example to prevent a repetition of such conduct in the future;

3. Interest on such damages awarded at the legal rate from the date of judgment of until paid;

4. Costs of suit; and

5. Such other and further relief as the court deems just and proper.

DAWNNA DUKES vs. MARGARET MOORE, ET AT CAUSE

Respectfully submitted,

vs. MARGARET MOORE, ET AT CAUSE Respectfully submitted, DAWANNA DUKES Pro Se Plaintiff 1103 Rutgers Drive

DAWANNA DUKES Pro Se Plaintiff 1103 Rutgers Drive Pflugerville, TX 78660 Office: 512-463-0506 Email: dmd@dawnnadukes.com

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