Nipsey Hussle Murder: Former O.J. Prosecutor Chris Darden Withdraws as Accused Killer's Defense Attorney
The former prosecutor announced that he was stepping back in a Facebook post on Friday. Holder had a court date scheduled for that same day, which Darden noted was the last time he would appear in the case.
“You guys have been awfully good to me and my family,” he began. “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.”
Darden continued: “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.”
Darden then shared that he and his family had received threats since he took on the case.
“But allow me to say this,” he continued. “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,” Darden added.
He continued by calling out the “cowards” who threatened his family. “To those who issued those threats to my children please pay close attention so there is no misunderstanding. Later. F—YOU!”
Darden concluded: “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.”
Holder was charged in early April with one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon.He entered a plea of not guilty in court on April 4, and could face a maximum sentence of life in state prison if convicted.
Hussle was gunned down in front of his Los Angeles clothing store, Marathon Clothing Company. Two other men were also shot, though they survived their injuries.
At a press conference at the time, LAPD Chief Michel R. Moore described a personal dispute between Holder and Hussle, alleging that Holder showed up in front of Hussle’s clothing store multiple times before shooting him.
“Mr. Holder walked up on multiple occasions and engaged in a conversation with Nipsey and the others that were there,” Moore said. “He left and subsequently came back armed with a handgun and purposefully and repeatedly fired, striking and killing Nipsey Hussle.”
Hussle died from gunshot wounds of both the head and torso, the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner confirmed. “Paramedics were called and [Hussle who was born Ermias Joseph Asghedom] was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m.,” the coroner said, in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.