On Tuesday, a Dallas judge denied a request by the city's interim mayor to block the release of a police recording at his home. On Wednesday morning, that tape was released to the public.
Mayor Dwaine Caraway said he called Dallas Police Chief David Brown on his cellphone Jan. 2 for assistance with a domestic disturbance. Brown sent Assistant Chief Craig Miller, who, without Caraway's knowledge, recorded part of his conversation with Caraway.
The Dallas Morning News sought the release of the audiotape, and Caraway filed suit against the city to keep the tape private. State District Judge Teresa Guerra Snelson issued a temporary restraining order on March 8 that stopped the city from releasing the audiotape.
That order expired at midnight Wednesday.
In the tape, Caraway is heard saying that he thought his wife, state Rep. Barbara Mallory Caraway, was suffering from a chemical imbalance and that when she gets upset, people have learned to get out of the way.
"I think Barbara has a chemical imbalance. I hate to say that, but I think that is probably what it is," Caraway is heard saying on the tape. "She sometimes can get in a fit of rage. It's not about infidelity, it's not about me hitting her. She's the smartest person in the world, and when she gets set off, everybody just gets out of the way. And she took it too far tonight."
In the tape Caraway said his wife was kicking in the door and that at one point a knife was brought out.
"I don't think Barbara had intentions of hurting me, but, in the midst of a fit of rage, you never know what will happen," Caraway said. "It's important that Larry (her brother) and her family get involved because they need to get some kind of counseling."
Just before noon Wednesday, Caraway released the following statement:
I have contended from the start that the recording contains deeply personal and private information. There is no public interest in this information and I have made every effort to protect my family's privacy. But I respect the ruling of the court and it's time to move on.
This morning, I assembled top City staff and asked them to join me in focusing on the important issues in front of our city – reducing crime, attracting jobs and businesses, getting through another tough budget year and moving Dallas forward.
I will not be discussing this issue further.
Caraway seeks right to privacy in court
"Let me first say, I'm a little disappointed, but then it's good that this is behind us now," Caraway said after Tuesday's hearing.
In court, Caraway testified about a football party he had at his house Jan. 2. He said his wife locked herself in a room after the party and wouldn't come out.
Caraway argued that releasing the tapes would hurt his marriage. But he played it down after the judge's decision.
"Here's the deal. When you hear what's on there, you tell me, is it as important and significant as what the media has allowed it to be? It's really nothing there," he said.
In court, Caraway said that what he said in the recording is highly intimate and embarrassing.
"I have a right to my privacy, even as an elected official," he said.
But Caraway faced tough questions from an attorney for the Dallas Morning News, which argued that the recording and other police records should be public. Such records are routinely released in similar cases, the newspaper said.
"Maybe that's why the Dallas Morning News is writing it, to sell papers," Caraway told the newspaper's attorney, Paul Watler.
Watler asked Caraway about what he said publicly right after the incident -- that the dispute at his house was between two friends, not between him and his wife.
"I responded correctly to the Dallas police and I did not falsify information to them," he said. "And I owe no one else anything but that. I responded, and I did not break the law. I don't owe the press anything."
Watler said the judge's decision is a victory for the public's right to know and the public's right to public information.
Caraway was mayor pro tem when he succeeded former Mayor Tom Leppert upon Leppert's resignation to run for the U.S. Senate.
Caraway is running for re-election to the City Council but is not running in the May 14 election to fill the mayoral post permanently.
NBCDFW's Ken Kalthoff contributed to this report.
- Judge Denies Caraway's Request for Injunction (live updates from courtroom)