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Special Grand Jury hears evidence on Constable Rust, deputies - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

UPDATE: Smith County Constable Precinct 3 Dustin Rust turns himself in to Smith County authorities

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UPDATE: Rust is expected to be back at work tomorrow after he reports to probation.

 


 

UPDATE (6:32 p.m.) -- At about 6:32 p.m., Dustin Rust exited the jail on a $22,500 bond.


UPDATE (6:30 p.m.): He showed up with a smile on his face, saying he hopes the truth comes out. We know his job and his campaign for re-election are safe...as long as he's not convicted. Then those felonies carry a mandatory removal from office. 

At 5:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, Smith County constable Dustin Rust turned himself in, responding to a warrant issued earlier in the day. He has three separate charges pending against him. 

A grand jury believed there was enough evidence to go forward with charges of felony theft, felony mis-use of official capacity and a misdemeanor charge of operating an unlicensed private security firm.  

He allegedly organized several deputy constables into a make-shift side business providing security at homes an businesses. That can be done legally, but these charges allege that he was mis-using county money in the process. 

During the investigation, he maintained that he's never done anything wrong. Tuesday afternoon he couldn't talk about it. 

"Trust me, I would love to," he said. "But the way they're after me now, I'd hate to do something that they would classify as crossing the line."

Smith County Judge Jack Skeen put a gag order in place, meaning Rust can only talk about his campaign. 

"Just want to let the public know that I'm still running for office and I hope that they can see through this and keep fighting the fight."

"That's why in this great state we have 'innocent until proven guilty,'" Anthony Cade said. "He'll have his fair chance at a trial and we'll see what the outcome is."    

Talking with his constituents, everyone seemed willing to wait some worried that this is a case of a lawman above the law. 

"It does that community an injustice if people like that abuse their powers," Cade said.

Others worried the courts could be stepping on something that wasn't a problem to begin with.    

"I think they should be able to do what they want to do on their own free time."    

Rust said he trusts the system to work in his favor.    

Constable Rust told us this afternoon he estimates he'll be spending $80,000 a week to defend himself in court. All of that is coming out of pocket. Tonight we do no know what his bond will be set at, or when he will be out of jail.  

We did speak with Dustin's father, Donn Rust, who is running for Smith County Sheriff.
He did not want to comment about how this will or will not affect his campaign.
 


UPDATE (5:34 p.m.): Smith County Constable Precinct 3 Dustin Rust turned himself in to Smith County authorities. 

 


Courtesy of the Tyler Morning Telegraph

TYLER -- A Smith County grand jury today indicted Precinct 3 Constable Dustin Rust on two felony counts and one misdemeanor charge in relation to a private security business, attorney John Haring said.

A special grand jury today heard evidence against Rust and his deputies in a case involving an unlicensed private security business, according to Rust and his father, Donn, a Smith County sheriff's candidate.

Witnesses were called from Rust's office and the Department of Public Safety to testify in the case, according to multiple sources.
 
Rust's office came under fire in February when Texas Rangers and Department of Public Safety Private Security Division officers arrested deputies Thomas Burnes, 37; Monty Ward Jr., 27; Justin Stockwell, 31; and Mark Pierce, 53, on Class A misdemeanor charges of operating a private security company without a license.

Dustin Rust, who has not been charged, has denied any involvement in the security business.

Burnes, Stockwell and Pierce all have given affidavits in the case pointing to Rust as the person instructing them to work private security and telling them it was legal.

The Rusts have argued since the arrests that the case is politically motivated because he and his son are both running for office.

Donn Rust has posted on his Donn Rust of Smith County Sheriff Facebook page: "Looks like our troubled (District Attorney) Matt Bingham is going to charge Dustin Rust and arrest him just weeks before the election. No this not political. Just a few weeks ago Mr. Bingham said Dustin would not be charged or go to the grand jury or be arrested."

Bingham called Lance Larison, a Longview attorney, to act as the special prosecutor in the case and referred all questions about the case to Larison. 

By KENNETH DEAN and ADAM RUSSELL
Staff Writers

SMITH COUNTY - A special grand jury today is hearing evidence against Precinct 3 Constable Dustin Rust and his deputies in a case involving an unlicensed private security business, according to Rust and his father, Donn, a Smith County sheriff's candidate.

Witnesses have been called from Rust's office and the Department of Public Safety to testify in the case, according to multiple sources. Sources said multiple felonies are under consideration.

Rust's office came under fire in February when Texas Rangers and Department of Public Safety Private Security Division officers arrested deputies Thomas Burnes, 37; Monty Ward Jr., 27; Justin Stockwell, 31; and Mark Pierce, 53, on Class A misdemeanor charges of operating a private security company without a license.

Dustin Rust, who has not been charged, has denied any involvement in the security business.

Burnes, Stockwell and Pierce all have given affidavits in the case pointing to Rust as the person instructing them to work private security and telling them it was legal.

"I'm hoping to hear something today one way or the other," Donn Rust said. "I don't think anyone knows what is going on. Hopefully it will be over today. We're ready for a trial if that is what it is takes."

The Rusts have argued since the arrests that the case is politically motivated because he and his son are both running for office.

Donn Rust has posted on his Donn Rust of Smith County Sheriff Facebook page: "Looks like our troubled (District Attorney) Matt Bingham is going to charge Dustin Rust and arrest him just weeks before the election. No this not political. Just a few weeks ago Mr. Bingham said Dustin would not be charged or go to the grand jury or be arrested,"

Bingham called Lance Larison, a Longview attorney, to act as the special prosecutor in the case and referred all questions about the case to Larison.

A special grand jury today is hearing evidence against Precinct 3 Constable Dustin Rust and his deputies in a case involving an unlicensed private security business, according to Rust and his, father, Donn, a Smith County sheriff's candidate.

Witnesses have been called from Rust's office and the Department of Public Safety to testify in the case, according to multiple sources. Sources said multiple felonies are under consideration.

Rust's office came under fire in February when Texas Rangers and Department of Public Safety Private Security Division officers arrested deputies Thomas Burnes, 37; Monty Ward Jr., 27; Justin Stockwell, 31; and Mark Pierce, 53, on Class A misdemeanor charges of operating a private security company without a license.

Dustin Rust, who has not been charged, has denied any involvement in the security business.

Burnes, Stockwell and Pierce all have given affidavits in the case pointing to Rust as the person instructing them to work private security and telling them it was legal.

"I'm hoping to hear something today one way or the other," Donn Rust said. "I don't think anyone knows what is going on. Hopefully it will be over today. We're ready for a trial if that is what it is takes."

The Rusts have argued since the arrests that the case is politically motivated because he and his son are both running for office.

Donn Rust has posted on his Donn Rust of Smith County Sheriff Facebook page: "Looks like our troubled (District Attorney) Matt Bingham is going to charge Dustin Rust and arrest him just weeks before the election. No this not political. Just a few weeks ago Mr. Bingham said Dustin would not be charged or go to the grand jury or be arrested,"

Bingham called Lance Larison, a Longview attorney, to act as the special prosecutor in the case and referred all questions about the case to Larison.

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