Chris Darden, an attorney best known for his part in prosecuting the O.J. Simpson double-murder trial, says he is withdrawing from his role representing Eric Holder, the man charged with gunning down Nipsey Hussle (born Ermias Asghedom), citing personal reasons.
Darden announced his withdrawal in a fiery Facebook post on Friday afternoon, which he said would mark the last time he would appear in court alongside Holder. While the famed attorney didn’t give explicit reasons for pulling out of the Nipsey Hussle murder case, Darden mentioned that he and his family had received death threats following his decision to defend Holder.
“I cannot understand why in 2019 some people would deny a black man his 6th Amendment right to counsel of his choice,” Darden wrote, likening the threats to the responses he received during the Simpson trial.
“Just as they were in 1995-Cowards never change,” he added.
Here’s Darden’s full statement:
You guys have been awfully good to me and my family. Thank you. I am on my way to appear for the last time in People v. Holder. I filed a Motion to Withdraw from the case. 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. I only know that as a lawyer it is my duty to protect the rights of my clients even in the face of threats or angry mobs. This is the silent solemn oath we took as defense counsel. This is the legacy made for me and all of us who practice as defense counsel in the criminal courts. 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. Or why defending such a man should invite threats not only against me but against my children too. The right to counsel is is not only a constitutional right, it is a civil right as well. Just as they were in 1995-Cowards never change. 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. To those who issued those threats to my children please pay close attention so there is no misunderstanding. Later. FUCK YOU! As for me, I continue to thrive. I continue to be loved. I continue to walk with kings. And I will continue my pursuit of fairness and justice on behalf of my clients and others charged with crimes. After 25 years some of them still haven’t learned : Their lies and threats will never deter me from my mission. Thank you again my good friends. The struggle continues. Thank you.
Speaking to the Los Angeles Times outside a downtown courtroom on Friday, Darden reminded the paper that he’s been defending accused criminals for 20 years—including other gang members like Holder.
When asked what drew him to Holder’s case specifically, Darden told the Times it was personal, adding, “I defend poor people—that’s all I do. And he’s definitely poor.”