The attorney representing the man accused of gunning down Nipsey Hussle said Friday he is withdrawing from the case, citing personal reasons.
Chris Darden, a former prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson trial, announced the decision in a Facebook post, Friday morning, noting that he and his children had received threats after he took on the case.
“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 … I cannot understand why in 2019 some people would deny a black man his 6th Amendment right to counsel of his choice,” he wrote.
During the trial, Darden and defense attorney Johnnie Cochran clashed often in vitriolic and sometimes personal exchanges, particularly on issues of race, The Times reported that year.
Cochran and others criticized Darden, who is black, for being part of a prosecution team that, for a time, defended the reputation of Mark Fuhrman, a white LAPD detective key to the case who was later denounced as a racist for his repeated use of the N-word.
Darden wrote a book after the trial, “In Contempt,” in which he criticized Cochran for inflaming racial passions in the trial.
“These days these cowards don’t send letters instead they sit anonymously behind keyboards threatening a man’s mother and children.” In the years since, Darden has worked as a defense attorney in murder cases.
“Twenty-five years I’ve been defending criminal cases. Why is that so interesting?” he said.
A judge granted Darden’s motion to withdraw and assigned a public defender, Mearl Lottman, to the case.
It’s unclear if Lottman will handle the case for the long term because he must first determine whether the public defender’s office has any conflicts.