The former law partner of El Paso District Attorney Yvonne Rosales, who is temporarily running the office until her resignation takes effect in two weeks, offered jobs to former top prosecutors who left as Rosales prepared to take office in 2020.
George Al-Hanna, who ran a law practice with Rosales for 16 years before she appointed him as her top deputy after her election, offered jobs on Tuesday to Amanda Enriquez and Denise Butterworth, they told El Paso Matters. Both refused.
“I have absolutely no confidence in Mr. Al-Hanna as acting DA. He has been a part of Ms. Rosales’ team since day one. He has been a part of this mess, this corruption, since day one, and he’s been complicit,” said Enriquez, who currently works for the El Paso County Public Defender’s Office.
Butterworth said Al-Hanna offered her a job and she “respectfully declined.” She wouldn’t elaborate on her reasons.
Al-Hanna did not respond to a request for comment.
Enriquez and Butterworth were longtime prosecutors under former District Attorney Jaime Esparza, and both were involved in the prosecution of the person accused of killing 23 people and wounding 22 others in an attack at the Cielo Vista Walmart on Aug. 3, 2019.
They said Al-Hanna offered them jobs to prosecute the Walmart mass shooting case.
Both left the office in 2020, just before Rosales took office. Enriquez was not retained by Rosales despite applying for a position; Butterworth said she retired because she would never work under Rosales.
Butterworth and Enriquez both supported James Montoya, a co-worker who lost the 2020 Democratic runoff for DA to Rosales.
Enriquez was targeted this summer in an email purportedly sent to the media by the family of Alexander Gerhard Hoffmann Roth, a Juárez man who was among those killed in the Walmart mass shooting.
The email criticized Enriquez for an appearance she made on KVIA-Channel 7 on the third anniversary of the shooting. It also attacked 409th District Court Judge Sam Medrano, who is presiding over the state trial in the shooting.
Medrano ordered an investigation into the email because it may have violated a gag order he issued July 1 that barred parties in the case, including lawyers and potential witnesses, from talking to the media.
He appointed attorney Justin Underwood to represent the Hoffmann family. Underwood filed a report with the court in October that presented extensive evidence that the email was written by Roger Rodriguez, who has served as Rosales’ personal attorney but doesn’t work in the DA’s office.
An El Paso Matters investigation determined that all 31 recipients of the email were on the media distribution list of the District Attorney’s Office.
Enriquez said she believes she was targeted by Rosales and Rodriguez because they feared she planned to challenge the incumbent DA in the 2024 election.
She said she was sickened by prosecutor Kyle Vance’s actions at a hearing Wednesday into the email’s origins. He cross-examined Thomas Hoffmann, the son of the Walmart murder victim, and his mother, Rosa Maria Valdez Garcia, about their testimony that Rodriguez had used his family in a scheme to attack Enriquez and Medrano.
Enriquez said Al-Hanna, as the acting head of the District Attorney’s Office, was responsible for the questioning of Hoffmann.
“Yesterday, I saw the DA’s office re-victimize, re-traumatize Walmart victims on the stand. It was disgusting. And I want no part of it,” she said in an interview Thursday.
Enriquez said she told Al-Hanna that the job wasn’t his to offer, because Gov. Greg Abbott would appoint a new district attorney when Rosales’ resignation takes effect Dec. 14.
She asked Al-Hanna if he thought he’d get the appointment.
“He says, “Oh, no, but just keep in mind that the governor can take months, weeks to appoint somebody,’” Enriquez said.
She said it’s urgent that Abbott quickly appoint someone to wipe out all vestige of Rosales’ tenure. She said that is especially important for the Walmart shooting victims and their families, who need “a sense of security in that there is somebody stable, somebody new, somebody who knows what they’re doing to start fighting for them.
“Because what I saw yesterday in that courtroom … they have no one. The governor’s appointee can’t come soon enough,” Enriquez said.
Correction: An earlier version incorrectly gave the last name of the candidate defeated by Yvonne Rosales in the 2020 Democratic runoff. He is James Montoya.