DALLAS - A judge ruled Monday to reschedule a hearing deciding whether Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins was in contempt of court when he refused to testify during a misconduct case in March.
State District Judge Bob Brotherton, a Republican from Wichita Falls, stayed the case and ordered Judge Lena Levario to re-write the order to include what type of punishment the district attorney could face.
A few hours after the Monday ruling, a recently demoted Dallas County employee filed an affidavit that accused Levario of making comments that indicated she was purposefully working against Watkins. Jill Reese, the county's jail population coordinator, said the comments were made to her during a lunch with the judge at a Fort Worth restaurant in May.
"Levario stated to me that she was 'going to serve Craig Watkins ... on a silver platter to the FBI,'" the affidavit read.
Prior to the alleged comments, Levario declared Watkins in contempt of court on March 7 when the district attorney cited "privilege" as his reason for not testifying during a trial in which he faced allegations of prosecutorial misconduct. Attorneys for Watkins argued he was acting under the law and urged the judge to void the citation.
Watkins was accused of indicting oil heir Al Hill III for mortgage fraud as a favor to friend and contributor Lisa Blue.
Levario dismissed the charges against Hill in March.
"We believe that he held fast to his privilege as the DA not to answer those questions," Harris said of Watkins' refusal to testify back in March. "She was wrong for not allowing him to assert his privilege."
After Monday's hearing, Heath Harris, Watkins' attorney, expressed concern as to whether Levario could be fair in the ruling.
"Based on all of the evidence that's out there, we don't believe [Levario] can be fair and impartial," he said. "We believe that she is ruling on something other than the law and the evidence. We think that is clear."
While Harris would not give further details, Reese later filed the affidavit detailing the alleged comments made by Levario.
"She also said that 'all you have to have is enough money to have the right attorneys with the right relationships to control the outcome of a court case in any courtroom, including mine,'" the affidavit read. "At the time, I was not aware of the significance of these statements."
In another sworn statement, Reese also accused the judge of attacking her job.
"I have been told by more than one person that she is trying to get me fired from Dallas County," she said. "I believe this is an attempt to silence me and discredit me."
A hearing on the contempt order was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Monday.