A visiting judge ruled Judge Tammy Kemp cannot preside over Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot’s Contempt of Court hearing in relation to the Amber Guyger murder trial.
“When the business of judging becomes personal, the judge needs to walk away," Creuzot's Attorney Brian Wise told reporters outside of court.
Wise accused Judge Kemp of bias and personal prejudice towards DA John Creuzot. During the hearing, Assistant District Attorney Jason Hermus and Gugyer Defense Attorney Toby Shook were among those called to testify about a meeting in Judge Kemp's chambers moments after her memorable expression of dismay at her bench over news that Creuzot had granted a TV interview days before the trial was set to begin.
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"Were you off the impression that Judge Kemp believed Judge Creuzot had purposefully violated her gag order," Wise asked Shook on the stand.
"I believe that was her intent, I don’t believe it was inadvertent," Shook replied.
Hermus testified that Kemp told him to stop defending his boss.
Outside of court, Wise took his argument a step further, telling reporters he believes Creuzot was within his rights to speak with the press because the gag order only prohibits an action that brings "substantial likelihood of material prejudice" to the case.
“There’s a reason I referred to that gag order as having more holes than the Iraqi navy because it does," Wise said. "The gag order does not prohibit Judge Cruezot from giving an interview or discussing the Guyger case."
In October, Creuzot filed a motion requesting that Judge Tammy Kemp be removed from the contempt of court hearing. He and his office claim her "visual reaction" in court after learning of his alleged gag order violation questions her impartiality.
Kemp previously held Creuzot in contempt for allegedly violating a gag order that was set in January for the murder trial of fired police officer Amber Guyger, who was found guilty in the murder of her neighbor Botham Jean.
The gag order barred those involved with the case from speaking about it publicly. Creuzot gave an interview to a local television station which aired the evening before the start of the trial. [[561140322,C]]
During the trial, Dallas County Assistant District Attorney Jason Hermus presented to Kemp an online article and local TV interview with Creuzot that aired the day before the trial began, which led to a motion for a mistrial. Later, Kemp asked the jurors if they had seen the interview and none of them had so the motion for a mistrial was dismissed.
Kemp's notice to show cause said the violation disrupted "the ability of the court to conduct its business in an orderly and expeditious manner" and obstructed "the administration of justice."
NBC 5 has reached out to Judge Kemp's court for comment but so far has not heard back.
A regional administrator will now appoint what amounts to a special prosecutor to handle Creuzot's contempt of court case. The next hearing has not yet been scheduled.