‘Totally disgusted with the actions of Ms. Rosales’: Internal emails show D.A. office staff reactions to Rosales’s resignation
EL PASO, Texas -- KVIA has obtained internal emails from the district attorney's office that show assistant district attorneys, paralegals, and supporting staff reacting to the resignation of District Attorney Yvonne Rosales.
The emails were obtained from an anonymous source inside the office. All the authors of the emails will remain anonymous to respect their privacy.
The first email was dated on the morning of Dec. 1 with the headline, "Need for public apology to us and to appear in court today."
The email was written by an assistant district attorney who had been with the office for more than a year. It was written on the same day that Rosales appeared in court during a hearing in the Walmart case to discuss if a gag order had been violated. Rosales was called to the witness stand and plead the fifth amendment.
The ADA wanted to go on record in the email saying, "I am so totally disgusted with the actions of Ms. Rosales these past few weeks and that I do not appreciate the perception that those of us remaining here are her mindless minions. We are hard-working public employees with a higher calling and putting ourselves at risk every day as we try to sift through the smokescreens and personal agendas and ensure that the bad folks don't mix with the good folks."
The ADA starts the email by writing that from the beginning of their time as an employee, the office has struggled with the pandemic and has had a difficulty recruiting attorneys to fill the vacancies in the office.
"Time and again, I have seen good employees choose a better job for personal, family and reasons beyond the control of our office. And unfortunately, I have seen a few that weren't beyond the control of the office," the email reads.
The ADA said the workload became heavy when magistrate judges started setting examining trials, a hearing where evidence is presented, well before the 90-day deadline that is allowed by law. The attorney said these examining hearings started being scheduled in as little as three weeks after a person was arrested.
"That includes serious, multi-defendant, rape cases where justice requires a measured approach to screening and time for law enforcement to provide our office with the evidence. What that new procedure did was cause cases in backlog to be put on hold even longer as we attempted to present indictments on some of the worst offenders to ensure that they were not released to the community," the email reads.
The email next talked about the hundreds of 32.01 case dismissals that were filed by the Public Defender's office because of inaction by the D.A. office.
The ADA said they were embarrassed by the Public Defender's office for doing this. They claim that office worked with the magistrate for "political currency to dismiss so many cases, making our job even more difficult."
The author did admit, though, that the case dismissals showed the D.A. office had failed to enter more than 6,000 cases into Odyssey in the past two years. Odyssey is the office's digital filing system where they can keep track of cases.
The ADA said the past few weeks have made them "feel deeply embarrassed to be a part of this administration."
"When Ms. Rosales' complicity in the gag order email scam came to light in Justin Underwood's report in the Crusius case, I knew that her days were numbered," the email read.
"It was clear that our District Attorney had made some serious mistakes that should result in disbarment for at least Judge Roger Rodriguez, if true, and certainly damaged any chance of Ms. Rosales remaining our District Attorney. I was saddened and disappointed to see how she gambled and lost and then resigned from office. But to see her disregard the rule of law in avoiding service of process, avoiding court hearings, and sending a recently hired attorney into a public spectacle with no clothing, are nothing less than disgraceful," the ADA said in their email.
The ADA said the recent actions by Rosales are unsettling for the staff who have worked countless hours and overtime to keep the office functioning.
"In my opinion, the folks remaining in our office are now perceived no differently by those outside our office than the Reverend Jim Jones' followers who drank the poison he gave them in Jonestown back in 1978 and then he took the easy way out with a gunshot to his head," the email read.
The ADA said they are not resigning from their position and they believe Rosales should give a public apology to her staff for leaving in a "disgraceful manner."
That one email gained support from other staff in the office, with many responding to it.
Another ADA said they had never been so embarrassed during their 22-year tenure at the D.A. office.
"I tried to tell people not to believe everything they hear because the media always has an agenda... even when Jaime was the D.A. However, I could no longer say that when she dodged service," the email read.
The second ADA said they had written three resignation letters since Rosales took over the office, but were convinced to stay by people outside of the office.
"The most recent one was typed after it came to light that she was dodging service. Thankfully she agreed to resign before I turned it in. I love what I do and was sad every time I typed a resignation letter but my health was suffering. I do see the light of what was a very long dark tunnel," the email read.
The second ADA asked the employees in the office to give Salah George Al-Hanna a chance, and to work with whoever the Governor decides to appoint to run the office for the next two years. Al-Hanna is in charge of the duties of the office until Gov. Greg Abbott names a replacement.
"The office can be a great place to work and what we do for the community is extremely important," the second ADA said at the end of their email.
Other staff who are not assistant district attorneys also spoke up in the email.
"I may not be an attorney or a chief or in upper management, but I am also here. I am also part of this office, this administration, and I also have been told, 'please tell me you no longer work there.' Most of us in our position at work cannot afford to lose our jobs, so we remain silent and with the feeling of being unnoticed and unacknowledged," one staff member said.
"In the 17 years I have worked for the D.A.'s Office, I have never felt more ashamed to say I work for this great office. I am saddened by what has happened to us and those poor families who have endured so much," another employee said.
Attorney Justin Underwood, who represented one of the families of a Walmart victim and wrote a report claiming a representative to Rosales had intimidated and impersonated the family, spoke on ABC-7 Xtra about the quality of workers still in the D.A. office.
"There are still wonderfully good people who work in that office. This is not an attack on everybody in that office because those of you, and you know who we're talking about, some of you have had to put up and be embarrassed by the behavior of your boss," Underwood said.