EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Who is impersonating the Walmart shooting victim’s family? The latest court filing alleges district attorney Yvonne Rosales and her legal counselor are behind it, implicating the breaking of the gag order put in place for the Walmart case.
Thursday morning a court filing signed by attorney Justin Underwood, appointed to represent the Hoffmann family, was submitted as a review of alleged ‘gag order’ violation that was put in place on July 1 of this year and that forbids anyone involved with the Walmart shooting case to speak of it.
KTSM first reported on a set of emails sent to first sent to local media on August 4 of this year, signed by Alexander Hoffmann Valdez and appearing to come from the email address of Rosa Maria Valdez Garcia, son and widow of Alexander Gerhard Hoffmann who was killed in the Walmart shooting on August 3, 2019.
The 10-page document stated that the emails were sent from Mrs. Valdez’s phone, but alleges the emails were composed by Roger Rodriguez, D.A. Yvonne Rosales’s legal counselor, and his wife Anna Rodriguez.
The report also indicated that the D.A. was intimidating the family, consisting of Mrs. Valdez and her sons, Alexander Hoffmann Valdez and Thomas Hoffmann, who live in Juarez, as well as promising them that they would receive visas and college education in return for cooperating with the D.A.
The Hoffmann’s were able to travel back and forth to meet with their attorney Underwood in El Paso under Sentri Pass and a laser visa until September 17, according to the report that stated officials with the Mexican Investigations Department appeared at the family’s home that day.
The alleged “officials,” as the report stated, attempted to have the family sign documents which the “officials” would not show, according to the report.
The family refused to sign and recorded a video of the encounter.
According to the report, the next day, Mrs. Valdez received an email that her Sentri Pass had been revoked.
During the last several months, plenty of turmoil in the D.A.’s office took place regarding the State’s case against the alleged Walmart shooter Patrick Crusius.
Starting with the emails that were sent to multiple local media outlets.
THE “HOFFMANN EMAILS”
The first email, sent on August 4, mentions Amanda Enriquez, former assistant district attorney, who assisted with the initial filings with the Walmart shooting case under former D.A. Jaime Esparza.
“In response to the statements made by Amanda Enríquez in the news articles on August 3 and 4, 2022, my family and I would like the media and the community to know she is using this case for political purposes. HOW DARE SHE,” the email stated, referring to Enriquez’s interview that aired August 3 on KVIA-ABC 7.
The email goes on to call Enriquez “unprofessional, inadequate and cold,” stating that Enriquez violated the gag order put in place by judge Sam Medrano on July 1.
She is, however, not subdued to Medrano’s gag order.
Enriquez was rumored to be eying a run for the D.A.’s seat in 2024, but she has not confirmed whether she is considering running against Rosales.
The following emails, signed by the Hoffmann’s, arrived on August 5 and 6 asking the media outlets to publish the initial email in full.
Hoffmann-Taus confirmed that her mother nor any other family members had never met Enriquez and that her brother, signed in the emails, was incapable of writing them due to his mental challenges.
KTSM also reported that the Hoffmann’s live in Juarez and are primarily Spanish speakers. The email that appeared to be sent by Alexander Hoffmann Valdez was written in near-perfect english with an above-average knowledge of legal terms.
HOW THE GAG ORDER CAME IN PLACE
June 27, D.A. Yvonne Rosales sent out a press release to local media saying she hopes to have the State’s trial for Patrick Crusius ready by summer of 2023.
This came after the announcement of the Federal trial date set for January of 2024.
Judge Sam Medrano, appointed to the Walmart shooting case, called a status hearing on July 1.
During the hearing Medrano was seemingly upset with the statement sent by Rosales and issued a gag order that forbids anyone involved with the case, including lawyers and witnesses from any party, to speak of it publicly.
During the hearing Medrano said that the D.A.’s office has not yet filed any motions, requests, witness lists or any filings regarding the case so far.
Breaking of this order by any party can result in imprisonment and fines.
BREAKING OF GAG ORDER?
After the alleged Hoffmann emails that seem to have broken the gag order, judge Sam Medrano scheduled a status hearing with the D.A.’s office to address the emails and ordered the D.A. to find the Hoffmann’s so they could testify in the hearing on the authenticity of the emails.
D.A.’s office requested for the hearing to be postponed and claimed that they couldn’t locate the Hoffmann’s that they were last in contact with on July 1 hearing, when the gag order was put in place.
Medrano appointed attorney Justin Underwood on August 17 to represent the Hoffmann’s and locate them.
The hearing was set for September 13, but due to D.A. office’s motion for recusal of judge Sam Medrano from the case, it has not yet taken place.
The recusal motion was dropped on September 27 and Medrano remained on the case.
D.A. ACCUSED OF SENDING THE “HOFFMANN EMAILS”
According to Thursday’s court filing, the emails were sent from Rosa Maria Valdez Garcia’s phone, but were not composed by her or any member of the Hoffmann family.
The document stated that Anne Rodriguez along with her husband Roger Rodriguez composed the emails from Mrs. Valdez’s phone.
Roger Rodriguez is a municipal court judge in the Village of Vinton and legal counselor of D.A. Yvonne Rosales.
According to the document, Mrs. Valdez did not know what the emails contained and where it was being sent to.
On August 18, the day attorney Underwood was appointed to represent the Hoffmanns, assistant district attorney Curtis Cox filed for continuance of the previously scheduled hearing by Medrano stating the D.A.’s office could not locate Hoffmann’s, according to the court document.
As stated in the court filing, Underwood claimed that Roger Rodriguez told the Hoffmann’s that they will receive a call from the D.A.’s office on that Monday and to not answer that phone call.
Underwood explained in the document the reason for this was “so that the District Attorney could state that the members of the DA’s Office had not been in contact with the Hoffmann family and could allege in the State’s Motion for Continuance that they had not been in contact with the Hoffmann family.”
Underwood goes on to state that the Hoffmann’s have provided him with an audio recording that shows Rodriguez was in contact with the family since at least the July 1 hearing, on behalf of D.A. Rosales and ADA Curtis Cox.
“Based on everything I learned, the District Attorney’s Office wanted a continuance of the Status Hearing in order to allow the State time to prepare and file a motion to recuse the presiding judge [Sam Medrano], something that former ADA John Briggs later testified to in the hearing on the Motion to Recuse Judge Sam Medrano,” stated Underwood in the court filing.
KTSM extensively reported on the mentioned recusal hearing for judge Sam Medrano.
Former ADA John Briggs and also the former lead prosecutor for the Walmart shooting case was fired in late August.
In the hearing for judge Medrano’s recusal, as one of the witnesses, D.A. Rosales said in her testimony that Briggs was fired based on his performance “or lack thereof.”
According to Underwood’s filing, he spoke to Briggs on August 22, and Briggs confirmed that the Hoffmann family was at the July 1 hearing.
Underwood goes on to say that in the conversation with Briggs, he revealed that after the July 1 hearing, all the victims’ families were brought to the conference room in the D.A.’s office.
The document stated, Briggs said D.A. Rosales introduced Roger Rodriguez to the families as a judge and that him and his wife were a part of the D.A. office’s staff.
This is a developing story, look for more updates online.
Editor’s Note: The headline has been updated for clarification.
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