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MoCo's Bryan Christ Files and Dismisses Suit when Challenged!

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MoCo's Bryan Christ Files and Dismisses Suit when Challenged!

Front Page of AnswerWith the "leadership" of Bryan Christ, the drama of the Montgomery County Republican Party never ends.

Here's the skinny. Bryan filed suit on December 4, 2023, seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO) to prevent 18 of the precinct chairs of MoCo County Republican Party from participating in the election of the chair of the county's Senate District Executive Committees.

In the suit, Bryan filed as a plaintiff from Senate District 7, Matt Mitchell from District 18, and Charles Parada from District 4.

In a TRO proceeding, a judge can issue temporary restraint ex parte, that is to say, in a one-sided proceeding, where the other side doesn't get a say. Most judges don't allow truly ex parte proceedings any more, because we can always get through to someone and justice is served best when one side isn't telling only one side of the story. Rule 680 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure states explicitly:

"No temporary restraining order shall be granted without notice to the adverse party unless it clearly appears from specific facts shown by affidavit or by the verified complaint that immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result to the applicant before notice can be served and a hearing had thereon."

In spite of the fact that all of the Defendants' phone numbers and emails are known to Bryan Christ, not one of the defendants sued was told of the filing or invited to participate in a hearing. And then the order required only a laughable $100 bond. ("Sure, violate my rights for $100! said no one, ever.)

One might suggest that it was all timed to conveniently say that the other side couldn't be alerted in time. Maybe being political neophytes, it was a surprise to them that the GOP Chair was going to send out a call for the meeting and they ought to prepare a suit if they wanted to stop the appointed precinct chairs' participation. (That's sarcasm. Matt Rinaldi worked with Bryan Christ to set the meeting. See Exhibit C of the Petition.)

But never mind that. The court issued the TRO. And how did Christ serve it? The serving agent went into the room where the meetings were occurring, plopped down the stack of petitions, and declared that everyone was served. Of course, that's not proper service, but even though most of the defendants were not properly served, most did not knowingly participate in the elections. Strangely, Bryan Christ did not even appear, but choose to hold his own ineffectual meeting somewhere other than where the meeting was called to be held. (Again, see the call in the Orig. Pet.) It is my understanding that the TRO had no impact, other than to disallow properly appointed precinct chairs from participating as they had a right and responsibility to do.

Norred Law was called in because this suit also asked for an injunction to prevent the 18 defendants from participating in the senate district proceedings' official business, and a declaration that the 18 defendants were imposters.

There are all sorts of problems with these claims and this suit. The first problem is that the temporary injunction sought wouldn't really do anything, as the selection of the chairs was accomplished already, and in March, all of this infighting would be over because new precinct chairs would be elected, and those folks will be doing the senate district work. What they obviously intended to do was seek an injunction to prevent the 18 appointed precinct chairs from acting as chairs until the suit was completed, but their bad drafting was not noticed, though there are three attorneys who signed the petition.

Additionally, if there was an issue with the senate district's work, the Republican Party of Texas has a Credentials Committee that resolves these issues. The court really has nothing to do in this aspect of the party's operations. So there is no irreparable harm, and the public interest of the court's interference in the convention process is unnecessary.

The second problem is that a declaration has to bring in all those with an interest in the declaration - in this case, the suit did not name the Republican Party of Texas, or the officers who would be impacted by the changing seats of the precinct chairs, or anyone else who would be impacted. If you want to resolve this with a declaration, you'd have to resolve who the proper secretary of the County Executive Committee is, and make sure that officer knows to whom notices should be sent.

This claim might have been valid a year ago, when we were fighting at the Supreme Court for a mandamus, but since that time, everyone involved has just learned to live with the pain of a divided house - the damage has been done. The Treasurer of the MoCo GOP files the financial reports for the party, and Bryan Christ sits around with his friends and pretends that he is supported by the vast majority of the party, when he is likely, even today, probably leader of a minority of the party's precinct chairs.

Back when we filed the mandamus, we argued that one of the issues that needed the Texas Supreme Court's involvement was the fact that the Secretary of State takes the list of precinct chairs from all party chairs, and makes those lists available to all interested parties, such as candidates seeking state-wide office. The Secretary of State does not affirm or validate those lists - she just maintains whatever the chairs give her. But that did not keep Bryan Christ's attorneys from acting like the Secretary of State's list was somehow authoritative, apparently hoping that they can get away with such circular logic because no one is watching. Well, in an ex parte TRO hearing, maybe. But not in a real suit where the court hears the other side.

Anyway, I called the other side to talk about all this, because I don't wish to fight over stupid things. I explained to all three of Bryan's attorneys that their TRO/temporary injunction was useless, and I was going to fight an amended temporary injunction if that amendment showed up this coming Friday morning on 12/15, a date set by the court when issuing the TRO. They admitted that it should be amended. I believed that they would pull the hearing, amend the pleading, and then reset the hearing. I was pretty surprised by their withdrawal today.

What's fun is that Bryan issued a statement about that discussion where he said that I was acting like a liberal trial lawyer and threatening to just delay things, so they were nonsuiting their case. For the record, he is not telling the truth about that call. First, he wasn't part of the conversation. Second, I said that if it went over next Friday, I would file the TCPA motion to dismiss. I never said that I would stretch it out. I stated explicitly that I was not going to waste time and I wanted to get it moving.

We filed Defendant's Answer today, coincidentally while Christ was busy making up a story about the phone call that was a figment of his imagination, and lying about its contents, asserting that I would seek to delay the trial with a TCPA motion to dismiss filed at the very last second. For the record, I stated, "Why would I do that?" when discussing the issue with his attorneys.

I have no illusion that that this case would be resolved by the date of the primary, but at no point have I considered the idea of delaying proceedings. And as the events unfold, while he was busy defaming me, our filed Answer seeks dismissal of the suit based on the Texas Citizen Participation Act, and Rule 91a, and includes a counterclaim for wrongful injunctive relief. And we filed it not 60 days out, as Christ's attorneys believed I would, but as soon as possible. Apparently they did not believe what I told them on the phone, when I stated that I had wanted to have our motion to dismiss heard this Friday, but had forgotten momentarily that the rules for TCPA had changed and we needed a 21-day notice, and not merely the three days that are required for every motion.

So, no, Bryan Christ and his counsel do not get to just claim victory and walk off, like strutting peacocks. They get to answer for their outrageous prevarications.

Not to make this post too long, but let's look at just one statement by Bryan Christ, found in his declaration made under penalty of perjury, and then discussed by not one, but three Texas attorneys who either failed basic logic or decided that a little exaggeration is no big deal before the court.

Bryan stated in his declaration, "I further verify that the following applications received from Defendants, stating under penalty of perjury that Defendants were not incumbent precinct chairs, are true and correct copies of filings received in my capacity as County Chair."

That statement refers to applications submitted by some of the defendants who are now running for precinct chair in March of 2024. Bryan is trying to assert that these individuals have not only admitted that they are not currently the precinct chairs, but sworn that they are not precinct chairs. But that statement is absurd and the conclusion unsupportable.

Zero of the defendants stated under penalty of perjury that they were not incumbents. What Christ did is look at the little new box on the form that is not part of the requirements of state law which is designed to assist party chairs, and states, "INCUMBENT DECLARATION" (Check here if you are an incumbent.)" Please note that there is no box that says, "Check here if you are not an incumbent." (See Orig. Pet, p.10 for Christ's declaration, and p. 26 for an example of the unchecked box.)

An irrational and uneducated person might look at such an unchecked box and interpret that the unchecked box indicates that the person is not an incumbent, and we can give such people some grace, but a chair of a major political party should not see an unchecked box under these conditions, and then pretend the lack of a check in a box means that the person filling out the form is swearing to the opposite, and in at least one case, an applicant may have believed that Bryan would not accept the application if the box was checked.

Worse, Bryan should not demonstrate his lack of judgment under penalty of perjury, particularly when he appears to have three attorneys representing him and drafting his declaration. (Two on the petition and another involved in communications.) Good grief.

What now? We have an order that a hearing is supposed to happen on Friday. An order by a judge cannot be simply passed, as plaintiffs' counsel has stated to me by email. Of course, Bryan and his comrades in arms have dismissed their suit, spinning the loss to cover up their failed suit, and there should be no hearing, as the claim for an injunction no longer exists. But I cannot depend on what should happen, as things have already happened that should not have happened. But in a sane world, the court coordinator should verify that no hearing will occur, irrespective of the TRO that set the hearing. (EDIT: The court confirmed that no hearing would occur.)

All that should be left is damages due to the TCPA claim and our counterclaim for the wrongful TRO that was issued against the chairs who were targeted for legal action.

Bryan Christ's suit is legal abuse of the judicial system, with all the trappings of a Biden Department of (In)Justice targeting the Trump family. At least my clients are in good company.

I hope everyone is having a fantastic Christmas season! - Warren