Dallas DA In Court To Answer Contempt Charge

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — Dallas County district attorney Craig Watkins will appear in court on Monday to defend himself against a contempt-of-court allegation stemming from a trial in March.

Watkins could face anything from a verbal reprimand to jail time if found guilty of contempt.

Watkins was held in contempt earlier this year after refusing to answer questions about his office’s prosecution of an oil heir for mortgage fraud. At the time, Watkins told the judge he shouldn’t have to testify because of his privileges as the district attorney.

Attorneys for the defendant, Al Hill III, accused Watkins of pushing the case forward as a favor to a friend and campaign donor. Watkins’ attorneys argue that nothing improper occurred and prosecutors were within their rights.

“We did what was right. The Dallas Co. grand jury that indicted this case,” said Russell Wilson, who heads the DA’s special fields bureau. “We believe we did what was right and they acted on the information that they received.”

After finding Watkins in contempt, the criminal case was dropped against Hill.

In March, the FBI and federal prosecutors joined the investigation into the office’s handling of the case.

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