DALLAS (CN) – A tearful former Dallas County prosecutor apologized Tuesday for an embarrassing audio recording of her insulting, swearing at and flaunting her powers at an Uber driver that resulted in her firing, but denied insulting his job or striking him.
Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson fired Jody Warner, 32, on Monday, after Uber driver Shaun Platt, 26, came forward with the recording from Nov. 10. He accuses Warner of berating him with expletives, slapping him on the shoulder and accusing him of kidnapping her after he ended the ride, called police and asked her repeatedly to exit his car.
“I want to apologize for my language, to the district attorney’s office, for embarrassing the office that I love very much and respect very much,” Warner told reporters at a press conference outside of the Frank Crowley Courts Building. “I embarrassed my family, I embarrassed myself. That is not who I am.”
Johnson said Warner’s behavior “is contrary to this office’s core principle of integrity, and it will not be tolerated.” Warner worked in the office for six years and prosecuted cases in the crimes against children unit.
Warner told reporters she did not publicly respond earlier due to the district attorney office’s media policy. She said she did not wish to make any accusations against “that driver,” saying she did not know what was in his heart.
“I can tell you not everything he said was true,” Warner said. “I never touched him, whether it is because of my experience as a prosecutor made me hyper vigilant or if I was justifiably uncomfortable, I can’t tell you that. I can just tell you what was in my heart.”
In Platt’s audio recording, a woman is heard calling him “a legitimate retard” and repeatedly telling him she is an assistant district attorney. She is heard accusing Platt of committing a “third-to-first degree felony” by asking her to get out of his car and not taking her to her destination.
Platt said Warner appeared drunk when he picked her up and that the problems began when she told him to drive in a different direction than his GPS program instructed him. He said she refused to respond to follow-up questions on where to drive, became “increasingly angry” and hurled insults.
The woman is heard warning Platt he was “going to regret this so much,” calling him a “[expletive] idiot in a stupid [expletive] hat” and telling him to “shut the [expletive] up.”
Warner acknowledged she had been drinking, which is why she took the Uber ride. She says she “finally snapped” when Platt was close to her home and turned down a different street than what his GPS program instructed.
“I never belittled him for being an Uber driver,” Warner said while wiping away tears. “I’m not someone who thinks I am above anyone. I went to law school to be a prosecutor, I love this job.
“I’m very sorry for the language that I used. I’m very sorry to the community of Dallas County, I have tried very hard to serve you in a way that would make everyone proud.”
Warner was flanked by attorneys Peter Schulte, George Milner and Elizabeth Frizell, a former state district judge who resigned this year to run for Johnson’s office. In supporting Warner, the trio questioned whether Johnson acted too hastily in firing her.
“If people are going to be fired from working for the state of Texas in this office, you have got to let us know what the ground rules are,” Schulte said.
Frizell backed up Warner’s claim that her concern was heightened, saying she is supporting her because she is an “excellent prosecutor.”