DA in Adrian Peterson case wants judge removed
By Brian MurphySt. Paul Pioneer Press CONROE, Texas -- The Texas district attorney prosecuting exiled Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson on a charges of child abuse accused the presiding judge Wednesday of bias and colluding with defe...
By Brian Murphy
St. Paul Pioneer Press
CONROE, Texas - The Texas district attorney prosecuting exiled Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson on a charges of child abuse accused the presiding judge Wednesday of bias and colluding with defense lawyers and wants him removed from the case.
Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon said in a court filing that Judge Kelly Case “continues to demonstrate an ongoing hostility to the law and the district attorney’s office.”
Ligon chronicled several grievances against Case in petitioning Chief Judge Olen Underwood to remove him from the Peterson trial. Among them, he said, Case called Ligon and Peterson defense lawyer Rusty Hardin “media whores” in front of court personnel.
The judge apologized to Ligon and Hardin when the district attorney raised the issue during Peterson’s arraignment Wednesday.
“That was meant as a humorous joke,” Case said from the bench.
Hardin accepted the apology. “I’ve been called a lot worse,” he said.
But Ligon was not amused.
The district attorney filed affidavits from court worker Vanessa Atkinson and assistant prosecutor Frank Barnett, who confirmed Case made the comment during an Oct. 2 staff meeting.
According to the six-page motion filed after Wednesday’s arraignment, Ligon accused Case of colluding with Hardin to set a Dec. 1 trial date.
Thirty felony cases are scheduled ahead of Peterson in Montgomery County, and only seven trial dates remained available in 2014, court officials said.
Peterson wants a speedy trial in hopes of winning an acquittal before the NFL regular season end Dec. 28.
Ligon said reports Tuesday about a potential Dec. 1 trial date “appear to confirm that the media sources and/or the defense had been consulted by the court without the state being present.”
Case’s clerk did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment.
Hardin’s spokeswoman, Mary Flood, said Peterson’s defense team would oppose Ligon’s motion.
The Pioneer Press is a media partner with the Forum News Service