The following is cross-posted from Progress Texas.
Breaking news in the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) case – former executive Jerry Cobb was indicted earlier this morning by a grand jury. The Austin American-Statesman was the first to report:
A Travis County grand jury has indicted Jerald “Jerry” Cobbs, an executive at the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas who was involved in the awarding of an $11 million grant to a Dallas company without the required scientific and business reviews.
The first-degree felony indictment charges Cobbs with securing execution of a document by deception. According to the penal code, a person commits an offense if, with the intent to defraud, he causes another to sign or execute any document affecting the financial interest of any person.
CPRIT came under scandal when it became clear the agency, which was created to fund cancer research in Texas, was redirecting millions to GOP donors. The Dallas Morning News was the first to uncover Abbott's negligence:
Abbott’s absence from CPRIT’s crucial deliberations was hardly unusual. Though state law grants a seat to the attorney general or one of his staff members, Abbott never has attended any of CPRIT’s 23 meetings. Even as the agency was barreling toward near-death, he sent an aide to fill the chair.
Greg Abbott, despite sitting on the board of CPRIT, did nothing to end the corruption:
In the more than four years he served on the state cancer agency's governing board, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott exercised no oversight as the agency made misstep after misstep in awarding tens of millions of dollars to commercial interests.
The state's top lawyer and watchdog instead appointed one of his deputies, who missed about a third of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas Oversight Committee meetings, and, by all accounts, was not much of a presence in the agency's questionable decision-making.
We will have more on this story as it develops. Watch our full video on CPRIT below the jump.