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Contempt Charges Against Dallas D.A. Dismissed

BJ Austin

Contempt charges against Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins have been thrown out by visiting judge Robert Brotherton.  

Brotherton ruled the prosecutorial misconduct hearing at which Watkins refused to answer questions was improper, and was an attempt by attorneys for Al Hill III to find evidence of misconduct instead of presenting required evidence.

The judge also ruled the subpoena calling Watkins to testify was "deficient". He said Watkins was within his rights to exert "privilege" and withhold information about the decision-making process in the mortgage fraud case against Hill. 

Leaving the courtroom, Watkins called it a victory for all district attorneys in Texas who may face allegations of misconduct from defendants.

Lawyers on the other side say they do not expect an appeal.

Former KERA reporter BJ Austin spent more than 25 years in broadcast journalism, anchoring and reporting in Atlanta, New York, New Orleans and Dallas. Along the way, she covered Atlanta City Hall, the Georgia Legislature and the corruption trials of Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.