HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is calling for a criminal investigation of Tony Buzbee after he said the mayoral candidate used fake video in a political advertisement.
Turner said Buzbee "faked an alleged text between Mayor Turner and Marvin Agumagu and doctored photos of the two" in a political ad running on TV and online.
Agumagu is the city intern being paid a salary of $95,000.
Turner said the ad appears to violate Texas' new Deep Fake Video statute.
"He faked the video," said Turner. "In Texas, distributing a faked video in violation of Texas' Deep Fake Video law within 30 days of an election is a criminal offense. The district attorney should open a criminal investigation immediately."
The law was passed this year. It makes it a criminal offense to publish and distribute a fake video within 30 days of Election Day.
A deep fake video is defined as "a video, created with the intent to deceive, that appears to depict a real person performing an action that did not occur in reality."
"Tony Buzbee should look in the mirror. When Mr. Buzbee talks about corruption, he's talking about himself," Turner said. "Mr. Buzbee should take this false ad down immediately and apologize to Houston voters."
Turner's campaign had a third party evaluate the ad. The report said the ad faked a text message conversation and doctored photos.
KPRC 2 Investigates spoke with Eric Devlin, the CEO of Lone Star Forensic Group which conducted the review of the ad.
"I think it's an artistic rendition of a text message that exists. I am not aware of law that has been broken," Devlin said.
Devlin is a former prosecutor.
Buzbee told KPRC 2 Investigates that he will not pull down the ad.
Turner was unavailable to sit down with KPRC 2 Investigates for an interview.