Dallas County DA Craig Watkins Declines to Testify

Hearing delayed due to Watkins' illness

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins

    Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins refused to appear in court Thursday to answer accusations that his office pursued charges against a member of a high-profile family at the behest of a campaign donor.

    Watkins was called to testify by attorneys for oil heir Al Hill III, who's charged with mortgage fraud. Hill's attorneys allege Dallas attorney Lisa Blue urged Watkins to pursue the case.

    But Watkins did not come to court. His office says Watkins believes he shouldn't be forced to answer questions. It also says Watkins is too sick to testify.

    Watkins' action angered the defense team.

    "They came in and said that he had some sort of executive privilege not to obey a court order. As I argued in court, I haven't heard that since president Nixon did that with the Watergate tapes," John Hueston, Hill's attorney said. 

    At one point, state District Judge Lena Levario paused the hearing to determine whether the FBI was investigating Watkins. His attorney says there's no federal investigation.

    Levario agreed to delay the hearing due to Watkins' illness. The hearing has been rescheduled for March 7.

    Editor's Note: In a previous version of this article the Associated Press incorrectly identified Al Hill III as Al Hunt III. The error has been corrected.