New Details in Dallas DA Removal Lawsuit - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

New Details in Dallas DA Removal Lawsuit

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    NEWSLETTERS

    New Effort to Remove Dallas DA Susan Hawk

    There's a new effort to remove Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk. The attorney handling the case filed new paperwork Tuesday asking that she be temporarily removed. (Published Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016)

    New sworn statements claiming paranoid and delusional behavior by Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk were published Tuesday in the lawsuit seeking to remove her from office.

    Ellis County District Attorney Patrick Wilson, appointed to pursue the case, asked in Tuesday's new court papers that Hawk be replaced immediately until a jury hears the facts, since witnesses could include current Hawk employees.

    "The evidence shows the defendant is incompetent to perform her official duties and is personally responsible for numerous instances of official misconduct while in office," said the amended complaint, signed by Wilson.

    The filing includes two new affidavits from former employees Bill Wirskye and Jennifer Balido. Both accuse former judge Hawk of increasingly erratic behavior in the first few months after taking office in January 2014.

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    Balido is a former state district judge and prosecutor who served as Hawk's administrative chief until she resigned in lieu of termination in February 2014. Balido said she had known Hawk for many years as a coworker and quickly agreed to join Hawk's staff after her election victory. But among other things in her nine-page sworn statement, Balido said Hawk instructed her to make improper use of money.

    "During my tenure, I observed various acts by Ms. Hawk which led me to believe that Ms. Hawk was not mentally fit to hold the office of District Attorney of Dallas County. Whatever the cause, I believe that it adversely affected her ability to serve as District Attorney of Dallas County in a competent manner," Balido said.

    Wirskye was Hawk's top assistant for just three months before she fired him in March 2014.

    Wirskye was the chief special prosecutor for the Kaufman DA murder trial of Eric Williams in 2013 and a big supporter of Hawk's November 2013 election campaign against former DA Craig Watkins.

    "By mid-February, Ms. Hawk's level of paranoia was paralyzing the administrative operations of
    the office," Wirskye's affidavit said. "I noticed signs of what appeared to be substance abuse. When Ms. Hawk would enter my office and sit directly in the morning sun coming in through a window, her pupils were not responsive to the light. Her mood and demeanor was becoming almost exclusively agitated and manic."

    Wirskye said Hawk became convinced secret recordings were being made. He said she fired him on March 23, 2014, "in the midst of another break from reality" and he immediately contacted Hawk's political advisor and said Hawk needed in-patient treatment.

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    Hawk disappeared from work and it was weeks before confirmation that she did indeed enter inpatient mental health treatment last summer.

    She conducted media interviews when she returned in October 2014, including one with NBC 5's Meredith Land, in which Hawk detailed her struggle with depression and thoughts of suicide.

    "My depression and my anxiety had gotten out of control, and I didn't even realize what it was. All I knew is I didn't want to do this any more. I didn't want to be here any more. I thought about my job and my job was always such a big part of me, and I wanted to do the right thing for that. So I thought I'll resign and then I will just, I'll kill myself," Hawk said.

    In that interview and other comments since, Hawk and her lawyers insisted she is more healthy than ever and completely fit for the job now.

    The lawsuit to remove her was filed Oct. 13 for fired employee Cindy Stormer by Fort Worth attorney Kelly Puls.

    Puls said Tuesday the new evidence and Wilson's statement indicates the Ellis County prosecutor is vigorously pursuing Hawk's removal.

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    "They had the option, if they didn't want to take it, not to pursue it at all. And they have," Puls said. "We said from the very beginning that we were right, and this further acknowledges that we were right."

    The San Antonio judge appointed to handle the case has scheduled a hearing for Friday. Puls said the judge could rule on temporary removal at that time.

    "We'll get a good road map of how this case is going to proceed," Puls said.

    Hawk's lawyer Charla Aldous issued the following statement in response for requests for comment Tuesday:

    "This action is overreaching and unnecessary under the statute.

    "All of the claims detailed in today's filing are and have been well-known, and present only one side of the story. The court can and will address them at Friday's hearing, which is the appropriate time for this. We look forward to the opportunity to provide the perspectives of District Attorney Hawk and others to the allegations and grievances in today's filing.

    "In the meantime, the District Attorney will continue to focus on the ongoing, effective management of her office, a post she was elected to by the people of Dallas County."

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