Watkins' handling of this case continues to appear hamhanded, seemingly unconcerned with the appearance of impropriety or conflicts of interest. I respect Lyon and have no reason to think he won't perform the task with integrity. But there's no denying he's a well-known partisan.
If he'd appointed someone viewed as truly independent - or just given the case to the AG as he did under identical circumstances with then-Constable Mike Dupree - Watkins could have put this issue firmly behind him. As it stands, independent voters will see this as partisans protecting partisans, and since any litigation won't be resolved by November, that's the impression voters will have going into the general election.
IMO Watkins has consistently been the recipient of extremely poor political advice on these matters. I continue to believe the US Attorney should step up to the plate so there's a credible, independent investigation of the allegations in which the public can have confidence.
UPDATE (6/4): Friggin' unbelievable, from Kevin Krause at the Dallas News:
The man who claims that Dallas County's constable investigator was behind a plot to concoct lies about District Attorney Craig Watkins is in jail facing numerous felony charges.
Information from Gale Corbett Hutchinson, 44, who has a lengthy criminal history and suffers from mental illness, led Watkins to hand off his constable investigation this week to a special prosecutor, Ted B. Lyon.
The district attorney's office said it asked for an outside prosecutor because Watkins apparently is the target of a scheme to drive him from office.
Hutchinson, of Allen, has been in the Collin County Jail since April 1 on felony charges including making false statements for property credit, credit card abuse, theft and impersonating a lawyer.
He has said in court documents that he suffers from several mental-health disorders and was placed on suicide watch while in custody.
MORE: I agree with what Michael Landauer says about this. I'm amazed Watkins let things get this bad. To me, and I had the opportunity to say so to him personally several months ago, the consequences of failing to recuse himself in the constable corruption cases were as predictable as the sunrise. If Watkins had passed off the allegations to the AG when the Defenbaugh report was released, he'd be cruising easily toward reelection right now. Instead, he's in for a serious fight and this issue isn't going away.