Texas

Why Did the State Bar of Texas Cover Up the Former Proud Boy Lawyer’s Death Threats and Misconduct?

Proud boy Texas Attorney Jason Lee Van Dyke receives a slap with a pardon from the Texas Bar for repeated threats of violence – rather than the compulsory disbarment his conduct commanded.

LIT COMMENTARY

Proud boy Texas Attorney Jason Lee Van Dyke receives a slap with a pardon from the Texas Bar for repeated threats of violence – rather than the compulsory disbarment his conduct commanded.

Proud Boys Lawyer Jason Lee Van Dyke Suspended By Texas Bar After Threats

After months of threats, slurs and lawsuits, the State Bar of Texas is disciplining Van Dyke.
Originally Posted: Feb. 21, 2019 | Reposted by LIT: Dec. 28, 2020

Jason Lee Van Dyke, the suit-happy lawyer who represented and briefly led the Proud Boys extremist gang, has been suspended from practicing law in Texas after he threatened to kill a man he was suing, the State Bar of Texas confirmed.

Van Dyke, who has a penchant for targeting those who oppose him with violent threats, is banned from practicing law for three months and will be on probation for another nine, if he complies with a slew of conditions from the state bar, according to case documents.

Van Dyke has been in and out of legal trouble for months ― he was arrested in September and accused of filing a false police report, released on bond, then given a new bail hearing for threatening a man named Thomas Retzlaff, whom he was suing for defamation. Van Dyke didn’t show up to that bail hearing in December and again found himself in handcuffs, the Denton Record-Chronicle reported.

And those were just the incidents on the books. The state bar told HuffPost as early as November 2017 that it was aware of other threats Van Dyke had made and admitted to;

…including acknowledging over the phone that he’d threatened to kill a “f**king n****r” on Twitter, as well as an entire family.

At the time, Van Dyke was suing an anti-fascist for calling him and the Proud Boys neo-Nazis.

The state bar confirmed to HuffPost that it had forwarded statements to its disciplinary arm. Since the agency doesn’t normally comment on individuals, it wasn’t clear at the time whether it had opened a case against Van Dyke.

Now, if he wants to practice law again, he’ll have to pay a $7,500 fine, stay out of trouble and “seek mental health treatment,” according to the state bar documents.

It wasn’t immediately clear how the outcome of other Van Dyke’s case ― which alleges he filed a false report for a burglary at his home that he was involved in ― might affect his probation.

Amid his own legal trouble, Van Dyke was intermittently promoted from lawyer to leader of the Proud Boys ― a gang of extremists known for harassing people online and attacking them in real life ― but was quickly ousted when he accidentally released the personal information of the group’s leadership and then threatened those who reached out to him about it.

Upon his ouster in November 2018, he sent me this email

“Now that I am no longer part of the Proud Boys and no longer representing them, I want to let you know that you are a despicable and evil human being. It is my hope that your duties as a HuffPo reporter bring you to the metroplex this holiday season so that I can give you the gift of a left hook. Kiss my ass, faggot.”

Bail set for Van Dyke, who could face felony charge

Originally Posted: Jan 11, 2019 | Reposted by LIT: Dec. 28, 2020

Jason Van Dyke, a Denton lawyer who formerly represented the Proud Boys, remained in Denton County Jail on Friday after Judge Coby Waddill set bail at $50,000 in Van Dyke’s ongoing legal battle.

If Van Dyke pays bail, there are additional conditions on his release: A sheriff’s deputy would escort him to his home, and Van Dyke would have to hand over all of his firearms. He would not be able to leave Denton County or the surrounding counties without express permission from the judge, and he would be monitored via GPS.

Additionally, he would not be permitted contact with Tom Retzlaff, Deb Armintor or Kristin Brady — all people who had affidavits or appeared in court Friday to allege they had been threatened by Van Dyke.

“Members of the community have serious concerns for their safety,” said Kristin Kidd, chief of the misdemeanor trial division for the Denton County District Attorney’s Office.

Van Dyke was charged in September with a misdemeanor count of falsifying a police report with Oak Point police. He was booked and released Sept. 14 on a $1,000 personal recognizance bond.

In December, he had a new bail hearing scheduled after he allegedly made death threats against Retzlaff, whom Van Dyke sued for defamation in March . Van Dyke later filed a motion to withdraw that lawsuit.

Van Dyke did not show up to the bail hearing Dec. 21, resulting in an arrest warrant. He turned himself in at the Denton County Jail on Tuesday. Van Dyke was not able to attend the December bail hearing because of a hunting trip to Alaska that had already been planned, his attorney Dominick Marsala told the judge.

This was a factor in Waddill setting bail at $50,000, he said.

“There’s no evidence about his ability to make bond,” Waddill said in court after state lawyers asked for a minimum of $5,000. “I’m inclined to go much higher.”

During Friday’s roughly 45-minute bail hearing, Kidd submitted affidavits from Retzlaff and Armintor detailing alleged threats Van Dyke had made in recent months. Other community members have taken issue with Van Dyke’s connection with the Proud Boys, an organization some have characterized as a hate group.

Oak Point police are looking into the threats and still could issue an arrest warrant for a felony obstruction or retaliation charge against Van Dyke. The charge was listed on Van Dyke’s jail record Friday afternoon, but court records did not name which police agency issued it.

Michael Moore, the chief of the felony trial division for the district attorney’s office, said this could be because an agency filed a probable cause affidavit, but no arrest warrants had been issued on the charge by Friday afternoon.

Brady, a prosecutor for the State Bar of Texas, appeared in court Friday as a witness. She is heading a case to possibly disbar Van Dyke, with a hearing scheduled for Feb. 8.

Retzlaff filed a grievance with the state bar because of threats Van Dyke allegedly made. Van Dyke has allegedly threatened Brady as well.

“I felt concerned, and the reason I felt concerned is this whole grievance is based on a death threat,” Brady said in court Friday. “He’s copying more and more people on these, and I don’t know what he’s going to do.”

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Why Did the State Bar of Texas Cover Up the Former Proud Boy Lawyer’s Death Threats and Misconduct?
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