POSTED: Monday, November 21, 2011 - 4:33pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 2:57pm
EL PASO - Mayor John Cook is fighting to stay in office after Pastor Tom Brown and the El Pasoans for Traditional Values group filed a petition to recall the mayor and two city representatives.
The group is trying to recall Mayor Cook and Representatives Susie Byrd and Steve Ortega for overturning an ordinance passed by the voters to take away health benefits for domestic partners employed by the city.
Pastor Tom Brown took the stand just before 2:00 p.m. and says he will continue to invoke his fifth amendment right in fear of incriminating himself.
Pastor Brown refuses to answer whether he in fact is the president of the Word of Life Church.
Mayor Cook argues that the petitions filed violate the Texas Electoral Code.
Senator Jose Rodriguez, who voted to amend the Texas Electoral Code, testified that any corporation or labor organization, including churches, may not make a political contribution in connection with a recall election, including circulation and submission of a petition to call an election.
If Pastor Brown's church, Word of Life, contributed anything of value including paper, pens or access to computers to support the recall effort, it may be a violation of the code.
If this violation is true, Brown could face up to ten years in state prison.
However, Pastor Brown's attorneys argue that a church participating in a petition would not be a violation of the code.
Tom Brown is still on the stand; we're in the courtroom and will keep you posted with the latest.
UPDATE: 4:40 p.m.- Tom Brown just testified in protest, "Yes, I was the President" of Word of Life Church.