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Hutchison vs. Bailey Ray’s bond deals could end Kay’s career BY MIRIAM ROZEN Dallas RAY HUTCHISON recently installed a Panasonic videocassette recorder in a corner of his cluttered downtown Dallas office suite. The sleek black system serves as a convenience for the bond lawyer, whose wife is indicted U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. With the new electronics, Ray, who still fumbles with its remote control, can record and review her C-SPAN performances along with the local news and network bulletins about her criminal prosecution. For Ray, a former state Republican party chairman and state legislator, the video equipment represents more than an indulgence. It is a tool he uses to promote his theories about how Texas Democrats are conspiring to destroy the political career of his wife. “This whole indictment is a cover-up of everything that occurred prior to June 5 by that cabal,” declared Hutchison, 61, in an interview last month. Looking haggard; chain-smoking cigarettes throughout our visit, Hutchison took two hours last month to detail the conspiracy themes the senator’s camp has been pitching since the probe into her activities began last summer. “Somebody had to come out and concoct all this,” spits Ray, about the allegations against his wife. There is no question that Kay Bailey Hutchison just months earlier, one of the national Republican Party’s brightest new stars is embroiled in a fight for her political life. In Austin for pretrial hearings the last week in December, the senator scored an interim victory. Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle had accused her of four felony counts and one misdemeanor. The DA had alleged that, during her stint as state treasurer, Hutchison misused state employees and equipment, tampered with government documents, and destroyed government records in an attempt to cover up her misdeeds. But on December 28, a state judge agreed to grant her defense lawyers’ motions to quash three of the four felony indictments against the senator at least temporarily. The judge gave the prosecutors until January 7 to reword and provide more details Miriam Rozen is a staff writer with the Dallas Observer, in which this originally appeared. to support the charges. The judge left untouched a third-degree felony count alleging that Hutchison misused state eiployees and equipment for her own personal and political purposes. If the DA successfully amends the nowquashed indictments, as one of his assistants says he plans to do, then the senator could again be facing a possible 51 years behind bars if convicted. Regardless of the outcome of pretrial maneuvers, a more imminent threat is the destruction of her political and personal reputation. Acutely aware of the stakes, the senator’s camp has denied the allegations and launched a massive campaign to deflect the PR damage from Earle’ s charges. Hutchison and her husband have hired and fired some of the nation’s most expensive attorneys; papered the court with pretrial motions; found technical flaws that forced Earle to dismiss, then refile his indictments; and waged an extensive and extraordinarily aggressive PR campaign to persuade reporters, and ultimately Texans at large, that their senator has been targeted unfairly. It is Ray Hutchison who steers his wife’s spin-control machine. A bond lawyer by trade, a career politician by avocation, he has spent endless hours at his wife’s hearings in the Austin courthouse as well as cataloging documents for her defense, adding to his packets of material laying out the political conspiracy against the senator, Hutchison and his wife’s lawyers have met privately with reporters to slip them evidence canceled checks., tape-recorded conversations, telephone records, court documents that back their position. Some of the material gives reason for pause. But mostly, it illustrates how the senator’s husband has pulled out all the stops. One of his chronologies, a 27-page document, labels its three chapters outlining the Democratic conspiracy carried out against the senator as, “Terrorism I, Terrorism II, and Terrorism III.” “It’s a labor of love with Ray,” declares David Beckwith, Kay Bailey Hutchison’s high-powered Washington spokesman and a former press secretary to former vice president Dan Quayle. “I think he is pretty solid on this stuff,” Beckwith adds, tacitly acknowledging that the theories of his boss’ husband, at first blush, might sound over wrought. “Some of us might be a little naive,” says Beckwith, who is naive about nothing, “but Ray’s put quite a lot of time in with this stuff.” Ray’s efforts have focused on allegations that will probably amount to no more than a sideshow at Hutchison’s trial. But the scenario he has developed, Ray contends, reveals the indictments’ sinister roots. In the early spring of 1993, he states flatly, “numerous Democratic and campaign operatives” concocted a conspiracy against his wife. Their motivation, as Hutchison. sketched it out, was clear. Kay Bailey Hutchison had collared for the GOP a Texas U.S. Senate seat that had for 22 years belonged to Democrat Lloyd Bentsen, now Treasury Secretary in. the Clinton Administration. Kay’s massive margin of victory over Bob Krueger in a special-election runoff had proved a particular embarrassment. Now the Democrats were determined to regain the seat one way or another. As Ray sees it, a despicable cast of Democratic villains worked deliberately even attempting extortion to manufacture evidence against Kay. Hutchison’s list of conspirators stars Houston businessman Michael Graham and Jim Mattox, the former Texas attorney general who surprise, surprise is now seeking the Democratic nomination to run against Hutchison. This pair, Ray contends, sought to develop allegations that Kay promised a government job in her Treasury department in exchange for an endorsement from Tom Bowden, the loser of the 1990 Democratic state treasurer’s race. Thwarted in those first attempts by Bowden’s denial, Ray asserts, the Democrats then refashioned their strategies to indict his wife on the false allegations that she misused government employees and equipment and destroyed evidence. Hutchison seems obsessed with Democratic “conspirators” whose true role in the court case against his wife is actually quite limited. Embracing his conspiracy theory, in fact, requires a massive stretch of the imagination belief that an array of private businessmen and public officials would manufacture a complex web of evidence out of whole cloth to serve Democratic political purposes. The conspiracy theory, in fact, is the linchpin of the aggressive counterattack that he and his wife have employed outside of court. 8 JANUARY 14, 1994