An undercover video shows a member of the Texas state house talking about apparent connections to organized crime and his meeting with a sheriff who allegedly told him his friendship meant the rep could get away with murder.
Now Texas Democratic Rep. Harold Dutton says he was simply making the whole story up at the time.
Ben Wetmore, general counsel for the American Pheonix Foundation, the organization which produced the undercover video, told TheDCNF it was recorded at a hotel in downtown Austin in April.
In the video provided exclusively to The Daily Caller News Foundation, Dutton says he was told that Austin lobbyist Nick Kralj, who he describes as his “forever friend,” has connections to the Bonnano crime family based out of New York. Dutton, who can be seen drinking wine, also talks about former Galveston Sheriff Joe Max Taylor, saying he flew to Galveston with Kralj and the sheriff told him that since he’s the sheriff, so they could get away with anything, like, say, killing someone.
Taylor declined to comment on the subject matter of this article.
“The sheriff looks at me and says, well O.K., now riding with me you can do just about anything you want to, so you just let me know what you want to do, and I said, well I don’t have anything special I want to do,” Dutton says in the video. “And then he says, well, riding with me you can even kill somebody if you want to, and I thought, naw I don’t want to kill anybody either.”
Dutton has been in office since 1992. He represents the 142nd district of Texas in Houston. Commenting to the TheDCNF, Dutton said he was just joking about Kralj’s connections to crime.
“We were joking,” Dutton told TheDCNF. “I was joking because [Joe Jamail] and I, who have been friends for a long time too, always joke about Nick and about what a good friend he is to everybody and how he knows everybody in the world. It was all in jest. It was not anything beyond that. I don’t remember the incident itself but I’m telling you from time to time we have joked that Nick knows everybody in the world so that’s kind of where that started.”
Regarding the sheriff, Dutton told TheDCNF that he has never met the man.
“I never met Joe Max Taylor in my life,” Dutton told TheDCNF. “I don’t believe that was ever said by me. I didn’t know Galveston had an airport to be honest with you.”
After seeing the video, Dutton told TheDCNF he made the whole thing up.
“Since these idiots came by for a story, I recall giving them one,” Dutton told TheDCNF. “However, none of the info was factual with the exception that Nic [sic] was my forever friend.”
Kralj told TheDCNF that the idea that he is connected to the crime family is “bullshit.” He also said he doesn’t remember flying into Galveston with Dutton.
“I’m sure he was joking,” Kralj told TheDCNF. “I hope he was joking because it was pure bullshit. There’s absolutely no truth to that. I don’t know anybody like that or have ever had any communications with anybody who would be involved with organized crime at all. I don’t know why he said it but its certainly not true. I hope it was a joke.
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