Former Harris Co. prosecutor accused of withholding evidence that sent man to death row

Did a Harris County prosecutor knowingly withhold evidence, sending a man to death row? Former Assistant District Attorney Dan Rizzo is once again answering that question regarding Alfred Brown, who was ultimately set free after first being convicted of killing a cop.

It's almost unheard of for a conviction to be overturned for someone found guilty of killing a police officer, but former Prosecutor Dan Rizzo is accused of conduct so egregious a death row inmate was released. 

Now, Rizzo is again answering claims that he failed to hand over evidence in the Alfred Brown case.                 

So will his 116-page response be enough to prove what Rizzo has been saying for years? 

"There is no misconduct here. There is no misconduct here," Rizzo's attorney Chris Tritico reiterates. 

Tritico is explaining Rizzo's position to the Texas State Bar in hundreds of pages after a special prosecutor filed a grievance against Rizzo. The complaint claims when Rizzo was prosecuting Alfred Brown in a 2005 double murder trial, Rizzo withheld a phone record that may have proven Brown did not kill Houston Police Officer Charles Clark and clerk Alfredia Jones during a 2003 robbery of a check cashing store. 

"Mr. Rizzo didn't know anything about it," Tritico explains. 

The phone record turned up in an investigators garage more than a decade later. The DA's office filed a complaint against Rizzo after finding an email from the investigator to Rizzo talking about the piece of evidence.

"To try to justify the fact that a Houston police officer kept a phone record in his garage and somehow throw that on the back of an assistant district attorney is incomprehensible to me," adds Tritico, who also says the phone record in question proves Brown's guilt because the call that Brown says confirms he wasn't near the crime was actually a three-way call that originated near the murders.

Tritico, who is a FOX 26 legal analyst, says he hopes the state will read the response "and hopefully these people will leave this man alone. It is time to leave him alone. He prosecuted a case on the facts that he had."

If the state finds wrongdoing, Rizzo, who is retired, could be disbarred, but his attorney says he's fighting it because he doesn't want to tarnish his name after practicing law for 30 years.

Brown was released from prison after 10 years behind bars in 2015 and was declared innocent earlier this year.

Special Prosecutor John Raley says "The Dockery land line records were filed with the HPD, according to three witnesses. Rizzo was made fully aware of the records, in writing, and was specifically told they were consistent with Brown's alibi. Rizzo chose to conceal them, in violation of Brown's Constitutional rights."