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John Creuzot Explains Controversial TV Interview Before Amber Guyger Trial

Allison V. Smith
KERA news special contributor
Creuzot in his private law office in 2018

Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot on Friday addressed the controversial television interview where he discussed Amber Guyger's murder charge, despite a gag order.

He told KDFW-TV  that murder — not manslaughter — was the appropriate charge in the case. While the station aired the interview the night before the trial started, Creuzot says that's not when he gave the interview.

"So without talking about the case, I was sent an email talking about the recent death of an assistant D.A. in my office, who committed suicide," Creuzot said Friday at a panel about criminal justice. "And the journalist had seen me talk about that and had seen the emotional impact that had on me. Talking about mental health and the type of jobs that we do and the types of things that we see. So I was asked to do an interview on that. That's what my interview was about. And I was told that's what the story that would air would be about. And I'll leave the rest to your imagination."

While judge Tammy Kemp expressed frustration about the interview, the trial proceeded as scheduled, with a sequestered jury.

Guyger's trial started Monday. She's charged with murder in the fatal shooting of 26-year-old Botham Jean in his apartment last September. She says she mistook his apartment for her own. Jean was unarmed. 

Creuzot spoke on Friday's panel alongside Dallas Police Chief U Reneé Hall and Dallas County Sheriff Marian Brown. It was part of the nonprofit Unlocking Doors' annual reentry symposium.

Courtney Collins has been working as a broadcast journalist since graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2004. Before coming to KERA in 2011, Courtney worked as a reporter for NPR member station WAMU in Washington D.C. While there she covered daily news and reported for the station’s weekly news magazine, Metro Connection.