Matt Largey

News Editor

Matt has been a reporter at KUT off and on since 2006.  He came to Austin from Boston, then went back for a while--but couldn't stand to be away--so he came back to Austin.  Matt grew up in Maine (but hates lobster), and while it might sound hard to believe, he thinks Maine and Texas are remarkably similar.

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Matt Largey, KUT News

Tom DeLay's legal team was in an Austin appeals court this morning, arguing that the former U.S. House Majority Leader could not be guilty of money laundering because as they said, "checks aren't funds."

DeLay was convicted in 2010, on charges that he conspired to funnel $190,000 in corporate contributions to Republican candidates for the Texas Legislature. Candidates for state office are barred from accepting corporate donations. The money was given by corporate donors to the Texans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee in 2002, which then sent the money to the Republican National Committee.The RNC then distributed an equal amount to candidates for the Texas House. 

DeLay could spend three years in prison, if his conviction stands.

At issue at today's hearing was how to read state law at the time. Delay's lawyers argue the law does not specify checks as a form of funds that can be used to launder money.

KUT News

A federal judge says the City of Austin can no longer ban people from City Hall's plaza.

The case revolves around a practice that came to light last year, amid the Occupy Austin protest at City Hall. Some Occupy members were issued criminal trespass notices and told they were banned from the plaza, sometimes for up to two years.

Two Occupiers - Rodolfo Sanchez and Kristopher Sleeman - took the city to court.

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

A federal appeals court is upholding a Texas law aimed at government transparency.

A group of city officials from across Texas had challenged the Texas Open Meetings Act, saying it violates their free speech rights. The law requires public officials to post notices and agendas for their meetings and restricts how officials can meet with each other to discuss public business.

The ruling today from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upholds a lower court ruling that found the law is constitutional and does not improperly limit elected officials speech.

UPDATE 1:30pm: APD says the situation near LBJ High School has ended. They are interviewing two people. As of 1:30pm, an AISD spokesperson said the lockdown was still in effect, but they expected it to be lifted soon.

EARLIER: LBJ High School in northeast Austin is on lockdown after reports of gunfire near the school. 

Austin Police don't believe the gunfire was on the campus, but they are looking for whoever fired the shots.

An AISD spokesperson says the school was locked down just before noon.


UT Regents meet Wednesday, and among the items they’ll consider is KUT’s request to purchase KXBT 98.9 FM Radio from Border Media Business Trust.  KUT management told us they have no comment at this time.

Photo by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

With 52.08 percent of the vote and only 20 precincts outstanding, incumbent Mayor Lee Leffingwell has declared victory.

Mayor Leffingwell just finished delivering a speech to supporters at Scholz Garten, where incumbent Austin City Council member Mike Martinez also recently celebrated success.

Leffingwell came out on top of his two challengers – former city council member Brigid Shea and community activist Clay Dafoe. Leffingwell has narrowly avoided a runoff, coming in with about 52 percent of the vote.

Photo courtesy

A federal judge says the state of Texas cannot exclude Planned Parenthood from the Medicaid Women’s Health Program.

The program provides contraceptives and basic health screenings for more than 100,000 low income women in Texas. A state rule aimed at preventing Planned Parenthood from providing services under the program was put in place earlier this year.

A federal appeals judge today said there is evidence that the rule is unconstitutional – and upheld a lower court’s order that temporarily blocks the state from enforcing it.

Early voting in the Austin city elections began this Monday, April 30. As part of KUT's interviews with all 14 candidates, KUT’s Matt Largey recently spoke with mayoral contender Brigid Shea on affordability, Austin Energy's rate redesign, and more. 

Also running for mayor are incumbent Lee Leffingwell and council meeting regular Clay Dafoe.  Election Day is May 12.


UPDATE 9:05PM: Authorities say the three day old boy reported missing earlier today has been found and is safe.

EARLIER: An Amber Alert has been issued for a three-day old boy last seen in the town of Spring, TX.

Keegan Schuchardt, a white male only weighing 5 pounds, was last seen around 2:40pm Tuesday.

Authorities describe the suspect as a thin, black female wearing a gray sweatshirt and blue jeans. She apparently fled the scene in a light blue 4 door vehicle, possibly a Lexus.

Images courtesy Austin Police Department

The Austin Police Department says drivers should expect delays in some areas on Wednesday between 1 and 4pm, due to the funeral procession for Senior Police Officer Jaime Padron.

Padron was shot and killed in the line of duty early Friday morning at a North Austin Wal-Mart. The suspect, Brandon Montgomery Daniel, 24, is in custody.

APD is inviting Austinites to pay their respects to Officer Padron during the procession, before his body is taken to San Angelo, where he'll be laid to rest.


The funeral procession route will be as follows:


Photo courtesy Texas Parks and Wildlife

Bastrop State Park is expected to be almost completely open by this weekend – seven months after wildfires ravaged the area.

Officials say more than 80 percent of the park’s trails will be open in the coming days, and reservations are being taken for campgrounds and cabins. More on the closures is available at the park’s website.

Closed in the aftermath of the Central Texas wildfires, the grand re-opening of Bastrop State Park is being planned for Labor Day weekend – the one year anniversary of the wildfires. The park saw incredible damage from the Central Texas wildfires, with flames engulfing nearly two-thirds of the 6,600 acre park. (You can see photos of the devastation in a slide show from KUT News.)

U.S. Army

The Army psychiatrist accused in the deadly 2009 Fort Hood shootings will be back in court this week.

Attorneys for Major Nidal Hasan will ask a judge to rule Wednesday on a request for the government to pay for a forensic pathologist to serve as an expert witness.

The judge may also rule on a defense request for notes from meetings between President Obama and high-ranking Defense Department officials after the November 2009 shootings.

Photo by KUT News

Army Paratrooper from Marble Falls Killed

A soldier from Marble Falls has been killed in Afghanistan.

Army Pfc. Payton Jones died Thursday in Kandahar province after an attack on his base, according to the Department of Defense. He was one of two soldiers who died during the same assault. Staff Sgt. Jordan L. Bear, 25, of Denver, Colorado was also killed.

Jones was a paratrooper in the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg, N.C. He was 19 years old.

Photo courtesy

No Problems, as Occupy Austin Reconvenes

About 120 Occupy Austin protesters came to city hall plaza last night for the group's General Assembly. 

That came just 24 hours after Austin Police were given the order to clear out the plaza, and enforce new city policies governing the use of the plaza. Seven people were arrested Friday night. Essentially, the new rules prohibit camping and storage of personal items in the plaza - and bar overnight use. 

Implementing the 'Sonogram Law'

The Texas Tribune has this look at the practicalities of implementing the state's sonogram law - which requires abortion providers to show a sonogram image and play the fetus' heartbeat for the mother within 24 hours of performing an abortion. Clinics say complying with the law has become a "bureaucratic nightmare".

Photo by Matt Largey, KUT News

Governor Rick Perry, in justifying his decision to stay in the GOP presidential contest, said the Iowa caucuses were “loosey goosey” and allowed a lot of Democrats to participate.

Perry came in fifth in last night’s Iowa contest, and said he was headed back to Texas to “reassess” his presidential campaign. Then late this morning, Perry tweeted that he was continuing on to South Carolina. 

KUT's Matt Largey was one of a group of reporters who caught up with Governor Perry in the lobby of the Sheraton West Des Moines as the candidate explained his decision.

Rick Perry: I just said I was going to reassess last night. I reassessed. We’re headed to New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Reporter: So you’ll participate in both debates?

Photo by Matt Largey, KUT News

Iowa Republicans choose their candidates for president tonight, and KUT has reporters following both Texans in the race: Governor Rick Perry and Congressman Ron Paul.

We’ve been talking with voters, and KUT’s Matt Largey in suburban Des Moines had this conversation with Ron Paul supporter and lifetime Des Moines resident Chuck Wheeler. 

KUT News: You’re going to be caucusing for Dr. Paul tonight?

Chuck Wheeler: Yup. I’m precinct captain of Precinct 54. We’ve been going at it since 7 a.m. this morning. The energy level is like nothing I’ve ever experienced.

I’ve been apathetic since 1984, and working with all these young people, it’s fun because I get their point of view and they get my point of view.

Photo by KUT News

AISD Board to Vote on IDEA Charter School

A few dozen people lined up early this morning for a chance to speak about a controversial proposal for in-district charter programs that the Austin school board will vote on tonight.

The measure would contract with IDEA Public Schools, a private charter company, to run two charter programs in East Austin schools.

Photo by Lucia Duncan/KUT News

The Associated Press is reporting the head of Formula One is giving local race organizers another week to reach a deal on a 2012 race at the Circuit of the Americas track in southeast Travis County. 

The AP quotes F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone as saying "the deadline hasn't been met so we are still trying to make it happen ... they need to get some money and a pen." He went on to say "if it isn't all signed before the World Motor Sport Council meeting (the race) can't happen."

That meeting is December 7th.

Photo by KUT News

Two members of the Occupy Austin protest have filed a lawsuit against the city, after they were banned from returning to City Hall Plaza. 

Rudy Sanchez and Kris Sleeman were arrested at City Hall in October and told they could not return.

They filed a lawsuit in federal court this morning, alleging the city's "ban" infringes on their First Amendment rights.