Courthouse News this morning highlights the story of Ginger Weatherspoon, a former assistant attorney general in Greg Abbott's office who claims she was fired after refusing to lie under oath about 254th District Judge David Hanschen. Weatherspoon, who worked from July 2006 through February '08 in the the Office of the Attorney General's child support division, has filed a nine-page whistleblower suit in Dallas County District Court in which she claims she was fired for telling her direct superior that two other attorneys pressured her, repeatedly, to sign "a false affidavit" that said Hanschen had treated an assistant attorney general "adversely in court," "issue[d] a prejudicial ruling against an AAG" and "threatened the AG's office." She says none of those things are true -- so she didn't sign the affidavit, simple as that. Which, she alleges, is why she was fired.
Maybe we should have seen this one coming: Hanschen was the subject of an April 2008 Dallas Observer cover story that dealt with his ongoing battle with the Office of the Attorney General. (Pardon the incomplete link; our Web site's acting up this morning.) Hanschen, you see, lets men challenge whether the younglings to whom they pay child support are theirs using DNA testing; said the judge, "In my court, the truth does not have a statute of limitations." Greg Abbott's office disagrees, and, as Megan Feldman wrote last year, James Jones -- formerly a senior regional attorney supervising the Dallas Child Support Division who's now a staff attorney in Tarrant County -- solicited other lawyers in the local child support office for affidavits alleging Hanschen and another judge had said nasty stuff about the AG's staff. In fact, Jones and another AG's staff attorney, Harry Monck, are named in Weatherspoon's suit.
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One week after our first piece appeared, Patrick "Buzz" Williams summarized the dispute thusly: "Some of the staff lawyers solicited for affidavits feared they were getting roped into supporting unwarranted complaints of misconduct against sitting judges -- not a healthy position for any lawyer to be in." That sentence, matter of fact, is highlighted in Weatherspoon's suit, which also received considerable attention yesterday from Texas Lawyer, to whom Jones and Monck did not respond when asked for comment.