Federal Prosecutor Quits Racketeering Case, as Texas DA Murders Spark Security Fears
The murders of two prosecutors in Kaufman County, Texas, apparently has prompted a federal prosecutor to withdraw from a major racketeering case in Houston, the latest sign that attacks on lawmen are having a chilling effect on the judicial system.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Hileman sent defense attorneys an email Tuesday saying he was withdrawing from the case against the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas due to safety concerns.
“I understand why someone would want to step back, and it makes sense to me, especially people who have families,” defense attorney Richard Ely, who is representing one of the defendants in the case, said. “Jay is a friend of mine, and this was a personal decision.”
The Aryan Brotherhood case, which netted 34 indictments last November, was followed by a statewide warning that the white supremacist prison gang may be planning retaliation. Ely doesn’t know the origins of the threat, but he thinks it was probably someone just “spouting off.”
The Kaufman County District Attorney’s Office was named in the threat because it joined several other agencies on a task force aimed at cracking down on white supremacist groups. Since then, District Attorney Mike McLelland and Deputy DA Mark Hasse have been murdered in brazen attacks.