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Xtra Depth: Former Mayor Cook explains why he created group in support of District Attorney Yvonne Rosales

EL PASO, Texas -- A former El Paso mayor has launched a political action committee to report what he believes is the truth about what's happening at the district attorney's office. 

District Attorney Yvonne Rosales has been facing several controversies including the dismissal of about 900 criminal cases since mid-August, which include suspects of domestic abuse and DWI. 

A judge dismissed them because the D.A.'s office failed to officially file charges with a certain period of time. 

In response, an El Paso defense lawyer filed a petition to remove Rosales from office, saying her inaction puts the community in danger. 

The D.A.'s office has said it can refile those criminal cases.

An assistant district attorney told us two weeks ago that The D.A.'s office identified more than 400 cases to refile, but they have not said how long that would take. 

News reports about these issues posted on social media have generated mostly critical comments from the community about Rosales. 

Former El Paso mayor John Cook said all this compelled him to get out, quote: "the rest of the story."

"I thought there's more than one side to the story. Let me try to get it out, let me try to get it out, let me try and see if people have comments about it."

Cook launched this Facebook group called 'truth matters' on Friday.

Cook uses the platform to share information about why the D.A.'s office has had trouble filing charges to prevent the case dismissals. 

"I started looking is this unique to El Paso? Is this happening everywhere else?" Cook said. "Sure enough, one of the facts is we had the pandemic. The courthouse closed for two years. There were backlogs in small towns, big cities alike. This is not unique to El Paso."

But district attorneys representing Hidalgo, Travis, and Dallas counties told ABC-7 earlier this month, they were not experiencing what was happening in El Paso.

Cook is also posting what he calls 'fact sheets' that he says show, quote, "the competence of the district attorney Yvonne Rosales to prosecute criminal cases" and to add context and perspective to the issues the district attorney’s office is facing.

However, ABC-7 has found some of that published information is either incorrect or actually missing context. 

For example, Cook  wrote, quote "a scheme is underway to undo the votes of over 200,000 voters who voted for our district attorney Yvonne Rosales. We cannot allow lies to undermine our democracy."

Rosales was elected during the 2020 November election, and ran unopposed. 

And she competed in the democratic primary against James Montoya and two other candidates earlier that year. 

In that race, Rosales got more than 16,000 or nearly 52 percent of all the votes. 

Montoya got more than 15,000 votes or nearly 48 percent. 

So while she was officially the winner in November - The true race for the D.A.'s office was during the democratic primary since there was no republican opponent.

There have been issues with his first fact sheet. 

Members of the group pointed out some incorrect information and Cook later posted a correction.

Cook told ABC-7 he just wants the facts out there, no matter who benefits from them.

“If the facts show that it's the district's attorney's fault or her staffing fault, or her employee's fault, then so be it. But if it shows there's other mitigating factors, I'm going to bring those out too."

Cook says he launched truth matters as a political action committee, or PAC, to create transparency. 

He's legally required to report who donates money and that information is considered public record. 

Cook says Rosales has not given him money to do any of this. 

Article Topic Follows: ABC-7 Xtra

Edwin Delgado

Edwin Delgado is an ABC-7 producer.


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