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24 November 2020
Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell reportedly violated his own stay-at-home order by attending a family birthday party in the spring.
<p>Gravell will <a href="https://www.statesman.com/news/20201124/williamson-county-judge-cited-for-violating-stay-at-home-order" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">plead guilty</a> to a misdemeanor related to the episode and pay a $1,000 fine, the Austin American-Statesman reported Tuesday. </p><p>A criminal complaint about the incident prompted the appointment of a special prosecutor and an investigation by the Texas Rangers. </p><p>Gravell's attorney Bill Hines said his client is the only person in the county to be prosecuted for the order, and that the Rangers found no other wrongdoing, the Statesman reported.</p><p>Georgetown attorney Robert McCabe filed the complaint in April, accusing Gravell of violating his own stay-at-home order, as well as official oppression and abuse of official capacity.</p><p>A week earlier, on April 7, a Twitter account posted pictures it said were of Gravell arriving at a gathering, "driven by a deputy." Gravell was wearing a fireman's suit with a special breathing apparatus.</p><div class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8635b2a2011beedbb709d111f5a0b81a" id="4df46"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-partner="rebelmouse" data-twitter-tweet-id="1247613312327716866"><div style="margin:1em 0">These photos provided by a very annoyed neighbor apparently, who is sick of the rules not applying to everybody. Is… https://t.co/pdRuzued6Y</div> — Buddy Falcon (@Buddy Falcon)<a href="https://twitter.com/buddy_falcon/statuses/1247613312327716866">1586289167.0</a></blockquote></div><p>Williamson County residents expressed disapproval of the posted photos.</p><div class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="242ea3bd7aabf636424e70719b12a2cd" id="2ca3a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-partner="rebelmouse" data-twitter-tweet-id="1247679009896398850"><div style="margin:1em 0">@buddy_falcon @BillGravell @SheriffChody This just keeps getting weirder and weirder. Smh 🙄 Hope he is held accountable.</div> — Scott Phillip Lewis (@Scott Phillip Lewis)<a href="https://twitter.com/THETRUTH_ABC/statuses/1247679009896398850">1586304831.0</a></blockquote></div><p><br/></p><div class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="26fadea8e963ce6d1f90ae5c6a81fca1" id="4f7ff"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-partner="rebelmouse" data-twitter-tweet-id="1247621635949113345"><div style="margin:1em 0">@buddy_falcon @BillGravell @SheriffChody This is wrong on so my level. @BillGravell You’re so out of touch with reality it’s scary God</div> — Michael Novick (@Michael Novick)<a href="https://twitter.com/MichaelNovick5/statuses/1247621635949113345">1586291152.0</a></blockquote></div><p>Williamson County Fire Chief Mark McAdams told <a href="https://www.kxan.com/investigations/special-prosecutor-appointed-to-lead-criminal-investigation-into-judge-bill-gravell/" target="_blank">KXAN</a> Gravell borrowed the fire equipment as a COVID safety measure during his visit to his grandson's party.<br/></p><p>County residents at the time were barred from gatherings, following Gravell's <a href="https://communityimpact.com/austin/georgetown/coronavirus/2020/03/24/just-in-williamson-county-issues-stay-at-home-order-through-april-13/" target="_blank">stay-at-home order</a> that forbade residents from leaving their home except for essential business. The order was in effect from March 24 through April 30. </p><p>After Williamson County attorney Dee Hobbs recused himself from the case, the criminal complaint zigzagged through courts for nearly two months, as officials grappled with how to handle the investigation. The Texas Supreme Court ultimately decided to appoint Milam County District Attorney Bill Torrey as special prosecutor.</p><p>Earlier this month, amid a new surge in COVID cases, Gravell said <a href="https://communityimpact.com/austin/georgetown/coronavirus/2020/11/12/county-judge-no-stay-at-home-order-for-williamson-county/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">he would not close the county</a> with another stay-at-home order.</p><p>Gravell was sworn into office on the first day of the year in 2019. He previously had served as a Justice of the Peace from 2015 to 2018.</p>
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