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El Paso County Commissioners decline DA’s request to cover legal fees amid SB4 lawsuit

Update: County commissioners unanimously voted to decline DA Hicks' request. The county will not be funding his legal fees.

During court, the DA said the county previously paid legal fees for former District Attorney Jamie Esparza. County officials responded saying this is a very unique situation.

Hicks said he does not feel comfortable with the office of the Attorney general representing him in the case. Claiming his interests are divergent from those of the Attorney general's office and saying he is better served with local counsel.

The DA adds if he does not get the funds from the county's general fund, he will get it from the Asset Forfeiture Funds, money seized from criminals. 

He warned using those Funds could impact other programs within the DA's office like the specialty courts, and training in the office.

Commissioners called that a threat, while the DA said that's not the case.

"By the DA threatening to cut funds for the specialty courts for training and refusing to take an attorney from the attorney general's office because he's somewhat divergent of the goals that they have as opposed to yours. Well, we would be doing, in its effect as funding him by allowing him to counsel those programs," said Carlos Leon, County Commissioner Pct. 1.

"They can fund the defense with zero impact to all of the other funds that they have and all of the other projects that they have for the county," replied Hicks. "If I have to take it out of my budget, it's very limited and it will impact other things that the District Attorney's office does."

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- Monday, El Paso County Commissioners discuss funding the legal fees for El Paso District Attorney Bill Hicks amid a lawsuit focused on SB4.

El Paso County District Attorney Hicks, along with other people, are being sued as part of a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties (ACLU) Union of Texas, regarding Senate Bill 4. The bill allows Texas to arrest migrants who enter the U.S. illegally.

The lawsuit was filed in co-council with El Paso County.

Hicks is asking for commissioners to authorize up to $100,000 for legal costs stemming from this lawsuit.

This is the third time this item is put on the agenda. Most recently, commissioners voted no to legal representation on Jan. 29.

Article Topic Follows: On the Border

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Brianna Perez


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