A former Texas sheriff’s deputy has been charged with three counts of aggravated perjury for allegedly lying on the witness stand.
Based solely on Coleman’s testimony about 1999 drug stings, drug charges were brought against 46 people. Some complained the arrests were racially motivated.
Coleman claimed he bought drugs from the defendants during an 18-month investigation in which he worked alone and used no audio or video surveillance to support his testimony.
A judge recently recommended throwing out the convictions against 38 defendants, but they are still behind bars. The case has led to investigations by the Justice Department and the Texas attorney general.
Although prosecutors said too much time had lapsed to charge him with perjury for the drug cases themselves, he was charged with perjuring himself during recent evidentiary hearings involving the cases.
The charges accuse Coleman of lying about what he knew regarding a theft charge brought against him for stealing gasoline in Cochran County, where he worked as a sheriff’s deputy before working in Swisher County, where he is now being tried. The charges of theft and abuse of power were dropped after he paid $10,000 restitution.
Now, Coleman has been charged with lying under oath about when he first learned he faced the theft charge, about not having contacted a state agency to tell them of his arrest, and about having stolen gasoline.
If convicted, Coleman could face up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine on each third-degree felony charge. Coleman no longer works in law enforcement or for Swisher County.