Defense attorneys want law enforcement notes preserved

Attorneys for indicted Brownsville Independent School District Board Trustee Sylvia Atkinson have filed a motion asking the court that notes from law enforcement agencies investigating her case be preserved. The motion states although federal prosecutors have provided Atkinson and her attorneys with certain materials for review, this does not include any “rough notes or drafts of reports, particularly contemporaneous notes from witness observations or interviews that may have occurred.” The motion was filed Monday.

An eight-count indictment handed down by a federal grand jury in December charged the BISD trustee and former executive director of High School Programs and Community Outreach at Texas Southmost College with one count of conspiracy, one count of bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, and six counts of travel act-state law bribery.

Atkinson has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

“Discussions among law enforcement and witnesses, particularly confidential informants, likely contain exculpatory or contradictory statements, and statements favorable to the defense, which may not be reflected in charging documents or official reports,” a portion of the motion states.

“The production of the rough notes is necessary because details which are often important and significant to the defense are sometimes omitted from the official reports, while rough notes may include such details.”

A December 2018 incident referred to by government attorneys in the indictment as “The Movie Project” involved Atkinson allegedly soliciting and accepting a $10,000 bribe from an undercover FBI agent posing as an employee of Pink Ape Media, an advertising and film production company based in Brownsville.

A final pre-trial conference is set for Aug. 4.Jury selection is scheduled for Aug. 10.