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Tarrant DA seeks to overturn Crystal Mason decision, send message to ‘potential illegal voters’

Tarrant County Prosecutor Phil Sorrells said he wanted to send a message by seeking to overturn a ruling that overturned Crystal Mason’s illegal voting conviction.

“I want illegal voters to know we are watching them,” Sorrells said. “We will follow the law and prosecute illegal votes.”

Sorrells informed county commissioners Tuesday of his decision to appeal a March 28 decision by the Texas Second Court of Appeals. The court ruled that Mason’s 2018 conviction should be overturned because she did not actually know she could not vote while on federal supervised release in a tax fraud case. On April 25, the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office announced it had asked an appeals court to overturn the decision.

Mason, a Rendon resident, was convicted of illegal voting and sentenced to five years in prison during a March 2018 trial in Tarrant County District Court. This case received national attention.

Sorrells said the appeals court that overturned the conviction cherry-picked the facts and did not operate as an appeals court should. He said if the appeal is successful, the case would go to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

Sorrells’ office, as part of the county’s Election Integrity Unit, is investigating three instances of double voting in the primary by people in their 60s.

Mason attended the briefing.

Joined by her lawyers, Mason said she was upset and questioned the prosecutor’s decision.

“Like he said, he’s only been here a year and a half. So what is his motivation for pursuing this case if he wasn’t there all along? » asked Mason.

Mason’s case arose when she voted provisionally in 2016. Sorrells, a Republican, took office in January 2023.

Mason said she didn’t intend to return to prison when she voted in 2016 and didn’t want to risk having to leave her children again.

“Who goes to the polling station to commit a crime and say, ‘I’m going to leave you again’? ” she says.