Yesterday, I had a chance to read Emily Ramshaw’s piece in the Texas Tribune on Craig Watkins and the whole issue with constables Derick Evans and Jaime Cortes, and why he won’t take Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott up on his twice-repeated offer to assist on the investigation. Good piece.
Watkins’ cousin, Kurt, happened to e-mail it to me, too. So I took the opportunity to ask him a question that I didn’t see answered in Ramshaw’s excellent story: how is this constable issue different from the Mike Dupree situation, where Watkins DID take the AG’s help? Jump, and we’ll find out.
And well, slight le sigh. In news that will likely make Mike Hashimoto’s head explode, I got a conversation with the DA, and we spoke at length, with much of it being off the record since he’s sticking to his guns about not talking about whether or not there’s an investigation going on, what the status is, and whether he’ll be prosecuting. But I did press him to give me one thing: What reassurances would he give to voters who otherwise like his record, but are concerned about this? Surely, I said, he recognizes the stories don’t look good for the constables, and turning down the Abbott help, etc., is confusing to people that want to like the work he’s done.
“I’d ask them to focus on the realities of where we are — we’re in a political season,” Watkins said, adding that much of the impatience regarding the investigation has been because of the election cycle. He also pointed (just as he did with Ramshaw) to the length of time it took to go to trial in the city hall corruption cases. “I’d ask them to be patient,” he concluded.
And, just like in Ramshaw’s piece, he pointed to his record — higher conviction rates, the fast-tracking of habitual offenders, and even the thing that’s gotten him the most national attention, the Convictions Integrity Unit that has exonerated nearly two dozen people.
Last night, I also found out that Dallas County Precinct 3 Constable Ben Adamcik (a Republican) and three of his deputies were served with grand jury subpoenas Monday to come by Watkins’ public integrity unit. The Dallas Morning News has more this morning, which Tim also discussed in Leading Off this morning. Watkins wouldn’t say if it had anything to do with the other case.