Embattled Harris County Family Judge, James Lombardino is setting up a potential ethics showdown over his relationship with big divorce lawyer Bobby Newman.

Lombardino has now denied a motion seeking his disqualification in the hotly contested child custody fight between James Rooney and Kora Leach.

Houston lawyer John LaGrappe had sought the constitutional disqualification and a voiding of the Judge’s court orders in the case.

The motion details a “systematic and continuous” financial relationship between Newman and Judge Lombardino and a personal relationship between the two. Newman has been representing Judge Lombardino’s son, David, in his own divorce since June of 2017. There are allegations he’s done it for free.

Judge Lombardino chose not to get out of the case, and that sets up an interesting showdown. First, the newly appointed administrative judge, Susan Brown, has to decide if she will force Lombardino off the case or not. There is the potential for a public court hearing, where LaGrappe could subpoena Newman and court workers from the 308th District Court.

The Lombardino-Newman connections have been the focus of part of a Dolcefino Consulting Investigation into Family Injustice in the Harris County Family Courts.

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