John Bradley, the once stout and irreplaceable district Attorney of Williamson County, is like the inexorable march of time—he keeps moving and moving, never missing a beat.


He and Ken Anderson were once the celebrated political kingpins in Williamson County, that is, until the Michael Morton case reduced their local stronghold to rubble. It was their political Waterloo, so to speak.


Michael Morton Case


Michael Morton was 32 years old in 1986 when he was arrested and charged with beating his wife to death. He was innocent, and former Williamson County D.A. Anderson knew it. In fact, all indications suggest that he concealed evidence that would have clearly established Morton’s innocence and deliberately sent an innocent man to prison.


The Morton conviction was one of the cases that earned Anderson the 1995 “Prosecutor of the Year” award presented by the State Bar of Texas.


Protege of Texas Death Machine


John Bradley had joined Anderson in the district attorney’s in 1989. They became close political buds. Anderson was impressed that his protégé had honed his prosecutorial skills under former Harris County District Attorney Johnny Holmes, the legendary prosecutor who sent 111 people to death row with highly questionable prosecutorial tactics between 1992 and 200.


A reasonable assumption can be made that at some point in time Bradley became aware of Anderson’s misconduct in the Morton case. That’s the nature of the prosecutorial business. Prosecutors have their own kind of perverse “thin blue line”—adherence to a code of silence when it comes to framing innocent people or concealing mitigating evidence to ensure conviction of the guilty.


Anderson and Bradley’s unusual power and mystique could be directly attributed to another close political bud—none other than former Gov. Rick Perry.


Texas Two Step


In January 2002, Perry appointed Anderson to a Williamson County judgeship and appointed Bradley to succeed Anderson as the country’s top prosecutor.


Life was truly good Williamson County. Business as usual, so to speak.


Or so they thought.


Morton Case Gains Traction


In 2005, attorneys for Michael Morton filed their first motion to have critical evidence withheld by Anderson to undergo DNA testing.


The first hole in the Anderson/Bradley power dam had appeared. Bradley immediately stuck his thumb in it. He vigorously opposed any effort to have any Morton case evidence subjected to DNA testing. He owed his former boss that much.


Ironically, the cruel circumstances of life had joined the two prosecutors at the hip.


Bradley managed to keep his thumb in hole in the dam.


In September 2009, Gov. Rick Perry appointed Bradley as Chairman of the Texas Forensic Science Commission so he could thwarted concerted efforts by certain commission members to establish the innocence of Cameron Todd Willingham—another more likely than not innocent man Perry had allowed to be executed in February 2004 without reviewing compelling forensic evidence that cast serious doubt about Willingham’s guilt.


Another Prosecutor of the Year!


That same year, despite the simmering controversy surrounding the Morton case, the Texas State Bar also bestowed upon Bradley its prestigious “Prosecutor of the Year” award.


Morton’s attorneys would not be deterred. They were convinced of their client’s innocence. They would fight Bradley straight through those proverbial gates of hell.


In 2010, they filed their second motion for DNA testing.


This time, in 2011, the results of DNA testing were returned and they completely exonerated Michael Morton as the killer of his wife—something Anderson had known since 1986 and something Bradley had fought the previous six years to keep from being revealed.


Morton Freed After 25 Years Wrongfully Incarcerated


Morton was freed from the Texas prison system in October 2011 where he had spent the past 25 years for a crime he did not commit.


The following month Anderson denied any wrongdoing in the case.


In December 2011, Morton was formally acquitted of his wife murder by a state district court judge.


The dam broke.


The powerful careers of Anderson and Bradley were washed away in the flood of events that followed.


Political Turmoil, Bradley Defeated


In 2012, Bradley was defeated in his bid for reelection. He immediately applied for the job to lead the state’s Special Prosecution Unit. That opportunity fell through after his application garnered unwanted media attention.


And things were not going too well for Anderson either.


In October 2013, the State Bar filed a lawsuit against him, charging the former prosecutor with violating his duties as a prosecutor by intentionally withholding the exculpatory evidence in the Morton case.


In February 2013, Anderson was forced to face an extraordinary court of inquiry which ultimately found him guilty.


The former “Prosecutor of the Year” was arrested, booked into the Williamson County jail, and immediately released on bond in April 2013.


In September 2013, Gov. Perry was forced to accept Anderson’s resignation from his judgeship.


Prosecutor of the Year Sentenced to 10 Days in Jail


Two months later the former judge and “Prosecutor of the Year” spent five days on the 10-day sentence imposed on him for contempt of court in connection for his role in the Morton case.


Texas Justice


Morton served 25 years in prison. The judge who wrongfully sent him there served 5 days.


Bradley, however, was not about to accept his fall from grace quietly.  However, he could use a tan…


In July 2014, Bradley applied for and was hired as Assistant Attorney General of the Republic of Palau, a small country of 20,000 in the Pacific islands and a former U.S. territory that was granted its independence in 1994. He apparently elevated to the top Attorney General spot, making him the country’s lead prosecutor.


Perry Looking for Missing WWII Airmen


Earlier in 2014, Bradley’s loyal supporter Ricky Perry visited the country on what Houston Chronicle columnist Lisa Falkenberg called a “privately funded mission to search for missing World War II airmen.”


Palau President Tommy Remengesau bestowed the title of “honorary consul” upon the then governor.


This political intimacy made us wonder if old buddy Perry may have whispered in President Remengesau ear that he had a good prosecutor friend in need of work. It would be a natural thing for Perry to do. He had a history of getting work for his political cronies.


How Sweet… A Second Chance


Whatever the connection, if any, President Remengesau justified his appointment of Bradley to the country’s Attorney General Office by saying:


“I believe John Bradley deserves a second chance, just as well all do. Everyone makes mistakes and If we learn from those mistakes we become better people. And often those who falter and seek redemption achieve more than they would have had they not stumbled.”


A leopard is a leopard and its spots remain spots.


We’ll let Joanne Musick, the president of Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association, tell us what happened next.


Writing in Reasonable Doubt on December 16, 2015, Musick wrote: “… Once in Palau, Bradley brought out his regular bag of tricks. Bradley defended inhumane treatment and called an investigation into the prison conditions of Palau frivolous. He was quoted as arguing against the judge visiting the prison as a waste of time and resources. To Bradley, it was preposterous that either inhumane conditions existed or that they should be investigated. Again, time to hide the ball and block any further inquiry.


“Now, still in Palau, John Bradley has determined he is above the law and not subject to sanctions or suspension in his job. Palau’s Vice President found Bradley to be insubordinate and suspended him for ten working days without pay. In response, Bradley did not argue against being insubordinate, but instead argued the Vice President lacked the authority to suspend him. Bradley went on to defend his prior actions in Texas and threatened a defamation suit against the Vice President.”


Hearing about all the ruckus, the Austin Amercan-Stateman contacted Bradley for a comment.


On Vacation


“I’m on vacation {not suspension],” the disgraced former DA told the newspaper. “Don’t believe everything you read.”


Bradley added: “The president of Palau, who appointed me and is the only person who lawfully supervises my work, has reassured me that he approves of my work and decisions. This is a developing country, and there are bound to be disagreements on the road to democracy. That’s one reason I was appointed – to assist in the growth of a modern attorney general office.”


This little “developing country” appears to have mastered the art of hobnobbing with U.S. politicians and the quid pro quo of political back scratch.  Too bad they got in bed with Perry and his ruthless gang of cut throats.


We’re not surprised that Bradley would find this little “paradise island” a perfect place to start over practicing law the only way he knows how—hiding, concealing, denying, and lying.  Guess he thought no one would follow his antics half way across the world.


What’s Next?  Perry for President…of Palau


It would not surprise us if Anderson doesn’t apply for a judgeship in Palau. He has the kind of experience needed to help a “developing country.”


And, perhaps, just maybe, Perry will change his residency and run for president in Palau. The country doesn’t have more than two government agencies to remember.