- The Washington Times - Friday, March 7, 2003

DALLAS Former Texas Attorney General Dan Morales and a lawyer friend were indicted yesterday by an Austin grand jury on suspicion of trying to channel hundreds of millions of dollars from the state's tobacco settlement five years ago.
Neither Mr. Morales nor his friend, Houston lawyer Marc Murr, could be reached for comment last night. Both men have denied involvement in anything illegal.
An assistant U.S. attorney said the two indicted men had agreed to surrender to authorities today.
Mr. Morales ran for governor last year, a move that some Texas political observers speculated was an attempt to fend off the indictments. He lost the Democratic nomination to Laredo banker Tony Sanchez, who went on to lose the general election to Republican Rick Perry.
The 12-count indictments charge that the two lawyers solicited kickbacks of $1 million from several different lawyers who sought to serve as plaintiffs' attorneys for the state in the potentially lucrative case.
The five lawyers who were chosen split more than $3.3 billion in fees though the case never went to trial. The state got about $17.3 billion in the tobacco settlement.
The only grand jury witness to have stated publicly what he told the Austin panel is Joe Jamail. The Houston lawyer testified before the grand jury in 2000 that Mr. Morales had demanded $1 million from him if he was retained as a member of the team.
Mr. Morales was also under scrutiny for reputedly trying to funnel $260 million to his friend Mr. Murr, who was said to have spent only cursory time on the case.

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