Reporting Jack Fink
DALLAS (CBS 11) - After investigating, a special prosecutor has filed this notice of contempt against Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins.
The special prosecutor was appointed, after a Dallas County judge found Watkins in contempt of court last March.
He refused to answer questions about a now-dismissed mortgage fraud case against oil heir Albert Hill III.
A special judge will soon hold a hearing on the matter.
At the time, Watkins told the judge he shouldn’t have to testify because of a privilege as the DA.
Heath Harris, the First Assistant Dallas County District Attorney says, “He (Watkins) asserted his privilege, a privilege I believe the courts are going to support that he had the right and the obligation to assert.”
After finding Watkins in contempt, the Judge dropped the criminal case against Hill.
It was a victory for Hill and his attorneys who accused Watkins of prosecutorial misconduct.
Hill’s attorneys alleged the DA only indicted Hill as a favor for one of his top donors who had a separate dispute with Hill over millions of dollars in legal fees in an unrelated case.
Watkins’ top assistants say they are appealing the decision, and believe Watkins is the victim.
Harris says, “It’s been a calculated effort from the beginning to try to diminish the DA’s credibility with the citizens of Dallas County.”
They say back in 2011, after Hill was indicted, private investigators visited some of Watkins’ supporters.
They include family law attorney Brian Webb of Dallas, who says they made a surprise stop at his office and asked him if he attended a fundraiser for Watkins.
Webb says, “It was very strange. They just referred to their client. They had a client who was interested in finding out and checking on that and indicated it was me and other people they were looking at.”
When asked if the private investigators intimidated him, Webb said, “No.”
In a statement, Hill’s attorney, John Hueston says, “The overwhelming evidence of prosecutorial misconduct that was presented to the court was developed during a nearly two-year defense investigation. This included interviews of individuals who attended a fundraiser… for D.A. Craig Watkins less than three weeks before Mr. Hill was indicted. The results of this investigation speak for themselves: The charges against Mr. Hill have been dismissed, and D.A. Watkins has been charged with criminal contempt.”
As we’ve reported, the FBI has been investigating Watkins.
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