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CLEBURNE,Texas A well-known Cleburne attorney and chairman for the Johnson County Democratic Party was taken into custody Monday morning after trying to bring a handgun into a courthouse.

The Johnson County Sheriff's Office said Bill Conover, 53, also appeared to be drunk.

The news stunned local attorneys and political figures in Cleburne.

I was just shocked... shocked, said Henry Teich, chairman of the county Republican Party. I really hope it was just an oversight on his part.

Conover didn't respond to requests for comment.

The county Democrats told News 8 he resigned the chairmanship on Monday afternoon. In a statement, party secretary LuAnne Leonard wrote:

Today was an unfortunate mistake, coupled with poor judgment. The gun was located in a book that was in his attache case. He forgot the gun was there and inadvertently took it into the courthouse.

Leonard said she didn't know if Conover had a concealed handgun permit.

Conover is a past assistant state attorney general and well-regarded attorney. His family has long roots in the area. A local high school football field is named after his grandfather.

The sheriff's office says Conover will be charged with public intoxication and bringing a firearm into a prohibited place.

E-mail tunger@wfaa.com

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