The district attorney of Dallas County has taken steps to keep the judge who presided over Amber Guyger‘s murder trial from being involved in an upcoming hearing to answer for allegations that he violated a gag order for the case. Dallas DA John Creuzot‘s office reportedly filed papers to have Judge Tammy Kemp recused from the hearing that is scheduled to take place at the end of the month.
Kemp was scheduled to preside over the hearing.
Creuzot’s office filed the “Motion to Recuse” on Monday, according to a tweet from Pete Schulte, a criminal defense lawyer who also used to be a prosecutor in Dallas County.
Schulte, who tweeted on Tuesday afternoon what he said was a copy of the motion’s paperwork, said the legal move by Creuzot’s office could have major political implications within Dallas’ Democratic Party, to which he and Kemp both belong. Both are elected officials, as well.
People who were watching Guyger’s trial closely may remember that her lawyers moved to have the case dismissed on the trial’s first day after arguing to Kemp that Creuzot’s interview with a local news station violated the judge’s gag order. While Kemp ultimately refused to dismiss the case, her in-court reaction to the revelation about Creuzot was a memorable one.
Kemp ordered the contempt hearing shortly after Guyger was sentenced earlier this month and said at the time that Creuzot’s violation of the gag order affected “the ability of the court to conduct its business in an orderly and expeditious manner” and hindered “the administration of justice.”
However, there was still the timing of Kemp’s gag order to contend with. Creuzot’s comments in question to the local NBC affiliate came days after he won his election last November when he said murder and not manslaughter was the “appropriate charge” for Guyger. “I don’t know any police reports. I don’t know any forensic reports, but based on what I have seen, manslaughter is an inappropriate charge, based on the circumstances as I understand them,” Creuzot said at the time. “Once I get in there and I get everything in front of me and it appears the most appropriate charge is murder, then that’s the charge we will go forward with.” He also said, “anything less than murder deviates from Dallas County precedent.”
But Kemp said the interview she was citing was with the local Fox affiliate and was recorded the night before the trial’s first day.
Kemp has her own issues to deal with. After initially being praised for how she presided over the murder trial, she came under fire soon afterward for appearing to show sympathy for Guyger by giving her a copy of her bible and giving her a hug after the former Dallas cop was sentenced to a very lenient 10 years in prison for murdering Botham Jean, an innocent Black man who was in his own home when he was killed last year. The judge recently went on a media blitz and defended her actions in the courtroom.
The day after she ordered the contempt hearing for Creuzot, the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a complaint with the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct accusing the aforementioned actions by Kemp as “inappropriate and unconstitutional.”