CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Nueces County commissioners unanimously approved hiring former Assistant District Attorney Matt Manning to represent DA Mark Gonzalez in the civil suit seeking his removal from office.
Last month, Gonzalez asked the county to pay for legal representation. Last week commissioners agreed, but with a few stipulations. They wanted to select the attorney and monitor costs.
Some commissioners said they did not want to hire his current attorney, Chris Gale, due to the number of lawsuits Gale has filed against the county.
Instead, they asked Gonzalez to provide a list of three attorneys from which they would select.
"It’s not that Chris (Gale) won’t be on my legal team, it’s just the county is choosing what attorney will go forward on my behalf, with at least the county footing the bill," Gonzalez told KRIS 6 News following the vote. "I’m disappointed that I would have to make a list of who they would want to pick for me to be my legal counsel."
Gonzalez said he anticipates Gale will remain on his legal team and that he was happy with the court's selection of Manning, but disappointed it didn't select Gale.
"They picked Matt Manning who is a good friend of mine, a great colleague of mine and I know he’s going to do a good job," he said. "In fact, he was probably going to be, if not already was, part of my legal team anyways and so I don’t see it as a big hurdle. But I would wish they would have allowed me to pick the attorney that I want to represent myself."
"I’m disappointed they didn’t pick him (Gale), the reason they didn’t pick him was indicated that it’s because he’s always suing the county and to me that, you know, if individuals in the county are negligent or do something they shouldn’t you shouldn’t penalize someone for holding them accountable and not giving me the representation that I want," Gonzalez added.
Gonzalez said he has been sued a few times, in his official capacity, and was able to select the attorney that would represent him, from a list provided by the county.
"Ask any public official out there, if you were in my situation would you want to pick your lawyer or have a commissioner’s court decide who you can have putting your best interests forward, not the county's?" Gonzalez asked. "I’m thankful anyway because it's discretionary and maybe they weren’t going to provide me with any legal counsel, which will be a very uphill legal battle to fight this."