DALLAS - As the trial date for former Dallas PD officer Amber Guyger gets closer, the legal drama surrounding the case intensifies.
Guyger’s defense team wants the trial moved out of Dallas. They say there has been too much media coverage.
They are also trying to prove interference by influential outside sources, including former District Attorney Faith Johnson.
Johnson's campaign for district attorney has been subpoenaed.
One legal observer said he sees more than just Johnson who may have interfered.
[REPORTER: “You want the opportunity to bring the indictment as the DA?”] “I want the opportunity to bring the indictment. It happened under my watch, and I think that’s very significant that I take this case to the grand jury,” Faith Johnson said back in November 2018 regarding the Amber Guyger case.
Johnson is part of the argument by defense attorneys that Guyger's murder trial should be moved.
Former Judge David Finn was shown the subpoena application for the Faith Johnson campaign for district attorney.
“This is basically a laundry list of items they're requesting,” he said.
Requesting many items between September 6, 2018, the day of the shooting, to election day, November 6, 2018.
“They seem to think that they're onto something, that there is something out there,” Finn added.
When Guyger's attorneys, Toby Shook and Robert Rogers, filed their change of venue motion, they named Beto O’Rourke and his comments, along with DA Johnson, as a dangerous combination against Guyger, instigated by influential persons.
That is one of the standards that must be met in change of venue requests.
John Cruezot defeated Johnson, who had been appointed DA by Governor Greg Abbott.
“So there was politics involved at the beginning, with Faith Johnson using that during her campaign. To a much lesser extent, Judge Cruezot. Trying to out tough each other, if you will, and now you’ve got politics regarding the change of venue,” Finn explained.
The former judge says it also goes beyond Johnson and Cruezot.
“You had Mayor Rawlings weighing in. You had the Dallas Morning News Editorial Board weighing in,” Finn added. “When you’ve got the mayor of the city basically saying we need justice, well what does that mean? You’ve got the elected DA, ‘We need justice.’ You’ve got the candidate for DA, ‘We need justice.’ What kind of tone is that setting?”
Judge Tammy Kemp is expected to hear arguments for and against the change of venue request next month.
“Judge Kemp is a strong, articulate, intelligent woman, and I suspect she is wrestling with this,” Finn said.
And Finn feels, either way, jurors should be sequestered.
“Restrict their access to social media, and even their cell phones, to make sure both sides get a fair trial. And the verdict is based on the evidence, and not on the media, not on politics, not on Facebook, but on the evidence in the court room,” Finn said.
The dates for pre-trial motions to be heard, including the change of venue, looks to be August 19-20.
Jury selection is set to start on September 6, the one-year anniversary of this fatal shooting.
The trial is scheduled to begin the fourth week in September.