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DALLAS (CBS11) – For a brief time last year, former First Assistant Bill Wirskye and former administrative chief Jennifer Balido were Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk’s most trusted employees.
Now, the two have joined three other employees Hawk fired who are trying to remove her from office.
On Tuesday, the special prosecutor overseeing the case to oust Hawk, Patrick Wilson, the DA from neighboring Ellis County, filed statements from Wirskye and Balido to bolster his case before a court hearing Friday morning.
A judge will hear arguments on whether the effort to force Hawk out should proceed or continue.
Wilson wants a judge to temporarily replace Hawk pending the outcome of her trial.
The special prosecutor has said Hawk should be removed from office because of her mental illness.
Hawk was out of work for more than two months last year while she received treatment for a severe bout of depression.
She had admitted she had thoughts of suicide, and that she had either abused or became dependent on prescription drugs.
In an affidavit, Wirskye said, “…It was my belief that her incompetency was due to severe mental illness and/or substance abuse, characterized by delusional paranoia, limited cognitive ability, and ultimately a complete break from reality…”
Wirskye mentioned what he called one of Hawk’s bizarre comments. “She accused me of calling her mother, harassing her, breaking into her parent’s garage, and breaking into her house and stealing a photo of her.”
Hawk later recanted the accusation.
Her attorney, Charla Aldous, said Tuesday the case should not look back, but forward. “She is someone who said, I suffered from depression, I have issues, I want treatment for it and that I want to be given a clean slate to start my job and to do it right and she is doing that.”
In his affidavit, Wirksye said two days before he was fired, he contacted others about staging an intervention with Hawk to help her.
But they declined.
Wirskye said he also spoke with others in the DA’s office, “We discussed contacting the State Bar, the Governor, and the Texas Rangers”… but that “none of these options seemed tenable at the time — we did not want to injure either Ms. Hawk or the office…”
Aldous says she hasn’t read all of the filing, but that, “It is quite scary if you think any disgruntled employee can come in and seek to remove a district attorney for any issue bascially including mental illness. I think it’s really, really a scary precedent.”
In her statement, former administrative chief Jennifer Balido said as her brief tenure continued, she said no one in the office knew if Hawk was going to show up for work. “She would not return phone calls or texts. Her attendance at the office and other community functions became increasingly sporadic.”
In court papers, Wilson has said when Hawk sought treatment at the end of last July, she never made arrangements for the ongoing management and operation of the office.
He said, “…The defendant left it to her friends to make up stories about the reasons for her absence and whereabouts… The fact remains, the defendant essentially abandoned her post.”
The Dallas County District Attorney oversees a $50 million budget and 450 attorneys.
Aldous says, “To me, this case is about what Judge Hawk has done as the District Attorney for Dallas since she sought treatment for her mental illness, and I think it’s a crying shame that people are trying to seek her dismissal from office.”
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