After four of the “highest ranking” members of the Bandidos Motorcycle Gang were arrested in Austin and charged with murder, many are wondering if Paxton special prosecutor Kent Schaffer will defend them in court.
Last week, four members of the motorcycle gang were indicted and arrested on charges related to the 2006 murder of Austin man Anthony Benesh III.
According to authorities, Benesh was with his two children at a pizza restaurant when he was murdered in a “sniper-style” attack. Authorities believe the assassination was spurred by Benesh’s attempts to start a Texas chapter of the Hells Angels, a rival motorcycle gang to the Bandidos.
So how does this relate to Schaffer?
A Houston-based criminal defense attorney who has been appointed as one of the special prosecutors on the Paxton criminal prosecution, Schaffer has represented the Bandidos’ leader, Jeffrey Faye Pike, and other members of the gang in the past.
Earlier this year, the US Attorney for the Western District filed a motion seeking to disqualify Schaffer due to his involvement in the operations of the gang. Schaffer was alleged to be an “unindicted co-conspirator” who essentially served as general counsel to the violent organization.
Authorities alleged Schaffer would review legal paperwork of gang members that had been arrested and would search for signs the arrested members were cooperating with authorities. Those who Schaffer identified as cooperators would then be subject to physical violence, threats, and intimidation.
“The government’s evidence demonstrates that Mr. Schaffer entangled himself … to an extraordinary degree in the activities of the Bandidos,” argued the US Attorney.
The judge agreed and disqualified Schaffer from representing Pike in the case.
However, Schaffer hasn’t always been prevented from representing other members of the gang in court. He has represented about 12 members of the gang in other cases and many are wondering if he will step up to defend these four accused of murder.
Schaffer is one of two special prosecutors leading the legal attack on Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Though similar charges against Paxton were thrown out of federal court due to the government’s failure to state a claim, the prosecutors are pushing forward with criminal charges and are expected to take part of the case to trial in May.