FORT WORTH, Texas - Fort Worth's mayor, a member of the city council, and a lawyer representing Atatiana Jefferson’s family may be found in contempt of court.
That's because they may have violated a gag order issued on the case when they remarked on the verdict Thursday.
Leading up to this trial, we haven’t heard a lot directly from those close to the case.
A gag order was first issued back in October 2019.
Although the verdict has been reached, the trial is not over.
Judge George Gallagher briefly paused the sentencing phase of Aaron Dean’s trial Friday morning, calling in Fort Worth Councilman Chris Nettles.
Although Nettles kept his comments vague when he spoke to FOX 4 following the verdict Thursday, his office later put out a statement.
It said, in part: "This verdict is a slap in the face to the Black communities in Fort Worth and across the country."
Judge Gallagher ordered Nettles and Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker to appear in court in next month for violating a gag order.
Parker had also released a statement Thursday, saying: "Today's verdict provides a measure of justice, though it does not change the fact that a tragedy occurred that should have never happened."
"It's never fun to be asked to appear to respond to a contempt citation," former Dallas County prosecutor Russell Wilson said.
Wilson is not involved in the case.
He said cases like this can be resolved different ways.
"It could be everything, from somebody reaching out to the court and trying to resolve that matter informally, to a full-blown type of hearing," he explained. "So you really don't necessarily know at this point. What you do know is the purpose of a gag order is to try to protect the integrity of the proceedings."
The punishments for violating the gag order could be a fine up to $500 and up to six months jail time.
Attorney Lee Merritt, who represents members of Jefferson’s family, has a hearing set for January as well.