One day after having the Dallas Court of Appeals cut off further payments to him in the prosecution of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a federal court has ruled against Houston Criminal Defense Attorney Kent Schaffer in another case.
A federal judge on Tuesday disqualified Schaffer from representing Jeffrey Faye Pyke, the alleged leader of the Bandidos motorcycle gang. Pyke and the gang are being prosecuted by the Department of Justice for murder, robbery, extortion, and other crimes.
Federal prosecutors have argued that Schaffer is an unindicted co-conspirator in the Bandidos organization, alleging that Schaffer reviewed the legal paperwork for Bandidos members in order to identify those who might have been cooperating with law enforcement.
The Court found that Schaffer’s representation of former Bandidos members who are now cooperating with law enforcement created an actual and potential conflict of interest that brought him into conflict with attorney ethics rules.
The move comes one day after the Dallas Court of Appeals temporarily enjoined Collin County from making further payments to Schaffer and another Houston criminal defense attorney, Brian Wice, for their prosecution of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for alleged securities law violations.
The pair of private attorneys were selected by Collin County Judge Scott Becker as special prosecutors after Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis recused himself from Paxton’s case. Becker made a handshake agreement with Schaffer and Wice to pay them $300 per hour on the case. The pair and their associates have submitted bills to Collin County for more than $600,000 under that agreement.
Collin County taxpayer Jeff Blackard, however, has sued the prosecutors and the county alleging that Becker’s handshake agreement violates state law and county rules that would typically limit pre-trial compensation to just $2,000. The Dallas Court of Appeals will consider whether to extend its injunction against the payments at a hearing in February.