HOUSTON – Darian Ward, the former press secretary of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, made her first appearance Tuesday morning following last Thursday's indictment by a Harris County grand jury.
Ward was in and out of District Court in about an hour.
Her next court date is Sept. 18.
Ward’s defense attorney, Chris Tritico, says they were provided 85 gigabytes of data, the equivalent he says of nearly 9 million pages of new information by prosecutors. Tritico told KPRC he had so much information he had to get a new server to house it all.
Ward did not say a word. She did not go before the judge; her attorneys and prosecutors met to the side.
Tritico, asked if he was surprised to be in court, replied, "We submitted a grand jury packet to the grand jury spelling out the law, we expected this to be no bill, so we are here and we will deal with it.”
Harris County Assistant District Attorney Stuart Tallichet said when people submit requests for information from the government, the district attorney's office expects government agencies to be transparent.
Following up on that comment, KPRC2's Mario Diaz asked, "Whether it's one email or 2,000 emails?"
"Exactly," Tallichet said.
Ward turned herself in Monday to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. Ward was processed and posted a $500 bond, according to officials.
Ward was indicted July 19.
KPRC2 investigative reporter Mario Diaz obtained a copy of the indictment that charges Ward with failure or refusal of an officer to provide public information.
In the indictment, the grand jury said that as an officer of public information for the city of Houston, Ward “failed and refused to give access to and permit and provide copying of public information.”
Tallichet feels the case is not a challenge to prove considering the volume of information that has been archived, “It’s a document-heavy case and everything is recorded. In terms of complexity of the actual prosecution, it’s not that all complex.”