EL PASO, Texas– El Paso County Commissioners voted Monday to deny paying for District Attorney Yvonne Rosales’ legal fees in her pending removal case.
After nearly an hour of back and forth explaining why the matter had to be discussed in public, commissioners voted 4 to 1 to not pay for her legal representation.
Rosales had placed this item on the agenda asking for tax-payer dollars to help her fight a lawsuit calling for her removal.
The DA was served with the petition about a month ago. The removal suit is one of the challenges facing the embattled DA.
Rosales recently drew attention for hundreds of criminal case dismissals and legal struggle with a District Judge.
Rosales began by asking commissioners to discuss the matter in executive session, claiming the information is delicate and moving to a closed session would preserve the removal litigation process.
County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal advised the court that discussing the matter behind closed doors would be against the law.
After almost an hour of intense discussion with one commissioner even threatening to walk out of the meeting, the motion failed to go into executive session.
When questioned about the potential cost, Rosales said attorney fees would be minimal and should this case go to a jury trial, they are potentially looking at fees from $150,000 to $200,000 because of the extent of civil litigation.
Commissioner David Stout asked why she wanted the court to pay her legal fees as she's not a county employee but actually considered a state employee.
Rosales argues that she is paid by the county and is entitled to the county benefits.
Still, the court voted not to pay for her fees at this time, commissioner Leon said the bottom line is he does not think there's a public purpose to pay for legal fees.
However, the court said it could come back for consideration if the lawsuit is frivolous or tossed out.