Attorney Chris Darden To Stop Representing Nipsey Hussle’s Accused Killer Eric Holder

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Christopher Darden, the attorney for Eric Holder, the man accused of killing rapper Nipsey Hussle, recently announced plans to withdraw from the case, the Los Angeles Times reported.

In a Facebook post published Friday morning, Darden, who was on the prosecution team for the famed 1995 murder trial of O.J. Simpson, wrote that he was on his way to appear in People v. Holder for “the last time.”

“I filed a Motion to Withdraw from the case,” he wrote. “I thought I should tell you, my friends, first & before anyone else. As for my reasons for withdrawing I don’t know whether I will disclose them later or not.”

Darden received criticism from some people on social media for representing Holder, who was charged last month with murder and two counts of attempted murder in relation to the fatal shooting of Hussle on March 31. Holder pleaded not guilty to the murder and attempted murder charges.

Hussle, a Grammy-nominated rapper born Ermias Asghedom, was lauded for his community activism and efforts to revitalize the South Los Angeles community where he was raised.

Chris Darden appearing in court on April 4, 2019 in Los Angeles.
“As for my reasons for withdrawing I don’t know whether I will disclose them later or not,” the lawyer wrote on Facebook.

Darden addressed the criticism he has received in his Facebook post, noting that it is his “duty to protect the rights of my clients even in the face of threats or angry mobs.”

He continued, “But allow me to say this; After centuries of a history of black men hung from trees without trial, or after the thousands of cases of black men tried, convicted and executed without counsel; after Gideon v. Wainwright & Powell v. Alabama, I cannot understand why in 2019 some people would deny a black man his 6th Amendment right to counsel of his choice.”

The attorney added that he and his family had received threats after he began representing Holder. He called the backlash reminiscent of 1995, an apparent reference to the response to his role in trying Simpson.

“These days these cowards don’t send letters instead they sit anonymously behind keyboards threatening a man’s mother and children. And some folks think that’s funny. It isn’t and I won’t ever forget it.”

A spokesperson for The Los Angeles District County Attorney’s Office confirmed to HuffPost via email that Holder is being represented by the public defenders’ office.

Darden told the Times that he has been practicing criminal defense for years and that he represents “regular people.”

R. Kelly case may be affected by Michael Avenatti’s indictment

R. Kelly’s lawyer believes Michael Avenatti’sarrest on federal extortion charges could torpedo the singer’s sex abuse case, according to a report Tuesday.

Steve Greenberg is calling into question the “chain of custody” of the alleged sex tape believed to be the smoking gun in the case against Kelly, TMZ reported.

He said there’s a possibility that the tape — which allegedly shows the R&B star engaged in a sex act with a minor — could’ve been altered before it landed in prosecutors’ hands.

Avenatti, who represents several of Kelly’s alleged victims and their family members, got the damning evidence from a person who’s extorted Kelly before, sources told the gossip site.


The man recently confessed to Chicago prosecutors that the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer’s team forked over about $1 million to prevent the tape from going public in the past — raising the question of how the recording wound up in Avenatti’s possession.

Avenatti said he turned over two sex tapes to prosecutors but Greenberg told TMZ he’s only aware of one.

Kelly is facing 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of four victims, including three minors.

Avenatti, meanwhile, was arrested Monday on charges that he tried to extort more than $20 million from Nike by threatening “to release damaging information” about the sneaker giant, according to court papers.

‘Guilty as hell’ R. Kelly needed anti-libido shots to control urges: ex-lawyer Ed Gensen

The lawyer who defended R. Kelly in a decade-old child pornography case said Thursday that the R&B legend was guilty of those charges — and even received anti-libido drugs to help contain his urges.

“He was guilty as hell!” Ed Genson, 77, told the Chicago Sun-Times from his Deerfield, Ill., home.

But the former criminal defense attorney said he believes the “Trapped in the Closet” singer hasn’t done anything “inappropriate” in years.

“I’ll tell you a secret,” he said. “I had him go to a doctor to get shots, libido-killing shots. That’s why he didn’t get arrested for anything else.”

Genson, who has terminal bile duct cancer, told the paper he doesn’t feel ambivalent about getting Kelly acquitted and keeping him out of prison in 2008.

 

Suburban Chicago woman posts R Kelly’s $1 million bail. The 47-year-old woman is described as a “friend” of Kelly”

A 47-year-old woman from suburban Chicago paid the entirety of R Kelly’s bail, allowing the embattled R&B singer to be freed from jail as he awaits his trial on sexual abuse charges.

According to The Chicago Tribune, the unidentified woman — described as “a friend” of Kelly’s — posted the bail — 10% of the $1 million bond set by a judge on Monday.

Since his arrest on Friday, Kelly struggled to come up with the funds to cover his bail. His lawyer, Steve Greenberg, told the judge that the singer’s finances are a “mess” due to his ongoing legal issues.

After learning of Kelly’s financial plight, some of his female fans reportedly reached out to the county clerk offering to cover the cost of his bail.

Upon his release last night, a seemingly unfazed Kelly made a beeline to his favorite McDonald’s — a place where he previously found himself in trouble after picking up an underage girl on her prom night.

Kelly is due back in court on March 22nd. If convicted of the charges in Chicago, he faces between 40-70 years in prison.

Attorney General Kwame Raoul ‘reviewing’ Van Dyke sentence

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Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office says it is reviewing the legality of the sentence handed down last week to former Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke for the murder of Laquan McDonald.

“We are going to do a careful review of the record and the law and make a determination based on our review,” Maura Possley, a spokeswoman for the office, said Wednesday afternoon.

Raoul, sworn in as attorney general this month, would not say whether he believes Van Dyke’s punishment is fair.

Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan last Friday sentenced Van Dyke to 81 months in prison — less than half of what prosecutors had sought. Van Dyke could be released in three years.

Outside the courtroom, Special Prosecutor Joseph McMahon said he was “satisfied” with the sentence.

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“We achieved our goal of justice and holding Jason Van Dyke accountable for his actions,” McMahon said.

But many police-accountability activists viewed the sentence as a setback.

A jury in October convicted Van Dyke of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, one for each shot into McDonald.

Some legal experts say the best way to challenge Van Dyke’s sentence would be to seek a “mandamus” order from the Illinois Supreme Court. That court could find Gaughan violated the law by basing the punishment on the second-degree murder count, a Class 1 felony, instead of the battery counts, which carry a more serious designation, Class X.

A spokesman for McMahon on Wednesday said the special prosecutor is “still reviewing” the sentence. The spokesman would not say whether McMahon asked McDonald’s mother, Tina Hunter, for her view on whether the sentence should be challenged.

McDonald’s great uncle Rev. Marvin Hunter, the family’s spokesman, said “justice was not served” and accused Gaughan of treating Van Dyke as if the crime were a “minor drug offense.”

A staffer in Gaughan’s chambers on Wednesday said the judge declined to comment on the sentencing.

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx did not answer what she thinks of the sentence or whether she would play a role in challenging it. A consideration for Foxx is her predecessor Anita Alvarez’s recusal of the office from the case after civil-rights groups accused her of pro-police bias.

Locke Bowman, an attorney who led the push for a special prosecutor in the case, said the Supreme Court has authority to toss out Gaughan’s “illegal” ruling that second-degree murder is the greater offense.

“If you turned the tables and if a young African-American man had regrettably fired 16 shots at a Chicago police officer and killed him,” Bowman said, “the judicial system would impose a massively punitive sentence.”

On Thursday, Van Dyke’s attorney slammed Raoul for reviewing the sentence.

“Another politician has chosen to exploit the tragic death of Laquan McDonald for his own political gain,” the attorney, Dan Herbert, said in a statement. “The judge in this case carefully considered the arguments made and issued the correct ruling under the law.”Van Dyke’s defense team says it is exploring its own options for challenging the sentence as well as the conviction.

Van Dyke began shooting McDonald, 17, as the teen carried a knife and walked away from officers on a South Side road in 2014. Many of the 16 shots hit the teen after he had collapsed to the pavement.

A police dashcam video contradicted reports by officers that McDonald was attacking Van Dyke.

Cook County Judge Domenica Stephenson last week acquitted three officers of charges they covered up for Van Dyke

Two men, including one carrying rifle while running through Oak Park neighborhood, captured by police

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Two men, including one caught on video carrying a rifle while running through an Oak Park neighborhood, were apprehended by police on Wednesday morning, according to Oak Park police. Officials said the men were seen abandoning a stolen car that fit the description of a vehicle involved in a shots-fired incident reported earlier in Chicago.

Oak Park police said the men were being followed by authorities while they drove in the area. Police said that shortly after 8 a.m., the men exited the dark-colored car near the intersection of Jackson Boulevard and Maple Avenue in western Oak Park, and then ran in different directions through the neighborhood. Police said a video from a security camera at a nearby home showed one of the men was carrying what police described as a rifle.

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According to Oak Park police, the men were quickly taken into custody, and both were turned over to the Chicago Police Department. Police also said a weapon was recovered.

Chicago police said the stolen car had earlier struck two squad cars and fled west from the 4000 block of West Monroe Street. The car was also wanted in connection with a previous shots fired call in the area, police said.

No information was available about whether they had been charged as of Wednesday morning.

No injuries were reported, and no shots were fired in Oak Park, police said.

Oak Park police stated that gun shots had been reported earlier in the morning in Chicago, and a car fitting that description by Chicago police was spotted in Oak Park. The car was traveling west on Jackson Boulevard, with police following at a slow speed, when the car apparently had a mechanical problem, which prompted the men to get out of the car and run off, police said.

Chris Brown released after rape claim

The police are still investigating the case, the French prosecutor’s office added on Tuesday.

The arrests were first reported by Closer magazine, which said Brown, his bodyguard and a friend were detained after a 24-year-old woman alleged she was raped at the singer’s suite at the Mandarin Oriental hotel on the night of January 15.

The woman said she had met the men at a Paris nightclub earlier in the evening, according to the magazine.

 

Medical marijuana Super Bowl ad rejected by CBS

The company described its Super Bowl commercial as more of a public service announcement.

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A medical marijuana company said its ad planned for Super Bowl Sunday was rejected by CBS.

Acreage Holdings told USA TODAY it made a 60-second ad featuring three individuals who say their lives have improved by using medical marijuana.

The company described the commercial as more of a public service announcement than an advertisement.

Acreage said the rejection came after its ad agency sent storyboards to the network.

The company told USA TODAY it received a return email that said: “CBS will not be accepting any ads for medical marijuana at this time.”

A CBS spokesperson confirmed to USA TODAY that it does not currently accept cannabis-related advertising.

According to USA TODAY, the spot focuses on a Colorado boy who suffers from Dravet syndrome, a Buffalo man who was on opioids for 15 years after back surgeries, and an Oakland veteran who lost part of his leg during military service.

At the end of the commercial viewers are then asked to call on their congressional representatives to call on change.

Acreage said it expects to post the ad online once it’s finished.

CBS is reportedly charging around $5.2 million for a 30-second ad during this year’s Super Bow

Jason Van Dyke, ex-Chicago officer, sentenced to 6 years, 9 months for killing Laquan McDonald

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The former Chicago police officer convicted in the murder of a black teenager who was shot 16 times as he walked away was sentenced Friday to 6 years, 9 months.

Jason Van Dyke’s punishment was far less than the minimum of 18 years that prosecutors were seeking, although state sentencing guidelines allowed for as many as 96 years or more — the equivalent of six years served consecutively for each shot.

A jury in October found Van Dyke, 40, guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery in the death of Laquan McDonald, 17.

On the night of the shooting in October 2014, Van Dyke and other officers were responding to reports that McDonald was carrying a knife and breaking into cars in the city’s Southwest Side. Van Dyke at his trial testified that he feared for his life when he encountered the teenager, who was holding a folded knife.

But dashcam footage showed that Van Dyke was moving closer toward McDonald, while the teenager was veering away from officers in the middle of the street.

McDonald’s death sparked racial tensions, a federal investigation and political upheaval in the city, and the video was released following intense public pressure and calls from activists for police accountability.

The last time a Chicago police officer was convicted of murder for an on-duty killing was more than 50 years ago.

Van Dyke’s defense team had requested probation for the 13-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, and submitted more than 100 letters from family, friends and co-workers who noted he had no prior criminal record and deserved leniency.

At the sentencing hearing, the Rev. Martin Hunter, McDonald’s great uncle, spoke on behalf of the family and read a letter that was written as if McDonald had penned it.

“Please think about me and about my life when you sentence this person to prison,” Hunter read. “Why should this person be free, when I am dead forever?”

The prosecution also highlighted complaints against Van Dyke for allegedly using excessive force and featured testimony from minorities who claimed he abused their civil rights during arrests.

Edward Nance, who won a $350,000 civil judgment after his arrest by Van Dyke and his partner during a 2007 traffic stop, cried on the stand as he explained how he was manhandled and remains “in constant pain, every day” from the incident.

Despite about 20 complaints against him, Van Dyke was never disciplined during his career.

His sentencing came a day after three Chicago police officers were found not guilty of conspiring to protect him following the shooting — a case that drew attention to a “code of silence” that has long plagued the department.