Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins fired back at conflict of interest claims by an attorney involved in the Carlos Cortez case with strong words of his own.
"This is just silliness and just something we're going to have to go through for a time and at some point people will realize that I'm a district attorney and accept it," Watkins said.
Attorney Ted Steinke represents Maggie Strother, who accused State District Judge Carlos Cortez of assault in Dec. 2013. Cortez was cleared of any criminal charges last week by a grand jury.
Steinke filed a motion stating he now wants a special prosecutor on Strother's case.
Steinke also said Watkins should be disqualified from several forfeiture cases scheduled before Cortez because the county stands to gain up to $47,000 in cash and three cars from those cases.
"This is just, just, just evidence of lawyers from the Henry Wade-era who just can't get with the fact that I'm the District Attorney of Dallas County," Watkins told FOX4. "Just because I have cases that my office are bringing before a court does not mean that I can't pursue an indictment against an individual. That's no reason for a conflict."
Henry Wade was the district attorney of Dallas County from 1951-1987. Steinke used to work for him, and Watkins has been critical of Wade's tenure.
Watkins also challenged the validity of Steinke's request for a special prosecutor.
"The motion he filed doesn't have the power to appoint a special prosecutor. That only lies with the elected D.A.," Watkins said.
When asked for comment, Steinke only told FOX4 he believes the law does give the judge the power to appoint a special prosecutor.
Steinke's motion also says Strother has just as much right to due process as Cortez, the defendant.
Creuzot says that's not so.
"In a criminal case, it's the state of Texas versus Carlos Cortez or anyone else," he said. "So, it's not the person's case. It's the state's case, and they prosecute the case, so she doesn't have any due process rights."
KDFW FOX 4
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