Bexar County judge candidate Trish DeBerry lobs accusations over dark money attack ads

Without offering concrete evidence, the Republican said attorney Thomas J. Henry is behind TV spots targeting her record.

click to enlarge “I know water. I drink it. I bathe in it," County Commissioner Trish DeBerry said. - Facebook / Trish DeBerry
Facebook / Trish DeBerry
“I know water. I drink it. I bathe in it," County Commissioner Trish DeBerry said.
Republican Bexar County Judge candidate Trish DeBerry alleged without proof Monday that personal injury attorney Thomas J. Henry is behind a series of TV spots designed to boost her Democratic opponent, Peter Sakai.

The ads have been an issue in the race since late September, when a dark-money group calling itself Friends of Bexar LLC bought some $259,000 worth of airtime to attack DeBerry. The 30-second spots attempt to paint the the public-relations pro and former county commissioner as an ethically challenged right-wing extremist.

It is unclear who’s funding the group, which isn’t required under law to disclose its donors.

However, during a Monday morning press conference in front of the Bexar County Courthouse, DeBerry said “multiple sources” in journalism, business and politics have told her Bob Wills, founder and CEO of advertising agency The PM Group, is behind the spots. Wills places media for Henry’s law firm, she added.

Wills denied any involvement in the TV spots Monday, and DeBerry and her campaign failed to offer any concrete evidence tying the veteran ad man or Henry to the dark-money campaign.

DeBerry nevertheless accused Henry of sexism, calling the lawyer, Wills and Sakai “cowards.” She also said she’s filing an ethics complaint with the State of Texas and seeking an investigation into the group funding the attack ads.

In a written statement, Sakai — a former family court judge — said he remains committed to running a positive campaign focused on issues.

“As a judge for 26 years and a firm believer in the 'Rule of Law,' it is critical to have concrete evidence when making an allegation,” Sakai said.

Sakai and DeBerry are competing to replace outgoing Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, who's retiring after holding the county's highest elected office for 30 years.

A poll conducted in September found Sakai with a healthy advantage in the race.

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