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Judge Holds District Attorney Watkins In Contempt

DA Craig Watkins
DA Craig Watkins

Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins showed up for his court-ordered appearance this morning only to have the judge slap him with a contempt of court order for refusing to answer questions.  

KERA’s BJ Austin is in the courtroom and says the following:

State District Judge Lena Levario is holding Watkins in contempt for refusing to answer questions about phone calls with lawyer and Democratic contributor Lisa Blue.

Judge Levario told Watkins she would decide what to do about the contempt order later.  Watkins told the court he was invoking work product privilege granted under state law which protects prosecutors’ conversations about cases from public scrutiny.

Attorney Terry Hart told the judge his client, Lisa Blue would take the fifth to avoid incriminating herself.

Blue represented Al Hill III in a battle over Hunt family money and is now suing him for attorney fees.

Hill claims Watkins office charge him with mortgage fraud as a favor to Blue, his friend and donor.

Watkins failed to appear in court when subpoenaed last month, but a court on Wednesday said it would not stop today’s hearing.

Former KERA staffer Shelley Kofler was news director, managing editor and senior reporter. She is an award-winning reporter and television producer who previously served as the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.
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.