More defendants dropped from Walker, Haynes conspiracy lawsuit

Jessie Haynes and Calvin Walker

Federal Judge Marcia Crone has spent nearly a year sifting through hundreds of legal documents filed as part of a civil racketeering case against roughly three dozen local, state and federal officials, as well as local media outlets and representatives, lodged by former Beaumont Independent School District administrator Jessie Haynes and contract electrician Calvin Walker. The total number of defendants in the case is dwindling, however, as just this past week two more were dismissed entirely from the litigation.

Haynes and Walker assert – in their fourth amended version of the complaint – that they are the victims of “an extensive, long-lasting conspiracy designed to prevent African-American individuals in Beaumont from gaining power and influence in order to perpetuate ‘white dominion over Beaumont local politics.’” This conspiracy spanning approximately a decade, the plaintiffs claim, allegedly involved around 35 residents and organizations in the Beaumont area, including the Beaumont Independent School District, the BISD Board of Trustees and subsequent Board of Managers, two local newspapers and their employees, two online journalists, the local chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and several of its members, a Beaumont City councilman, two local attorneys, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas, two Assistant United States Attorneys, and two agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Friday, May 12, Crone ruled that Jefferson County Court at Law No. 2 Judge Cory Crenshaw and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas Malcolm Bales have been released from the lawsuit in entirety, stating that she agreed with Magistrate Judge Keith Giblin’s earlier findings that neither Crenshaw nor Bales ever acted outside their capacity as public officials.

According to Giblin’s April 21 recommendation, his referral was based in part on the claims made in the allegations – or, rather, the lack thereof. Walker and Haynes were given until May 5 to object, but no objection was forthcoming.

Also dismissed this past week, agreed to by the alleged victims, was online journalist John Cassidy, who was never properly served with the lawsuit, according to filings made on his behalf.

Other defendants already terminated from the lawsuit include The Examiner newspaper, two of its representatives, attorney Wayne Reaud, and the Beaumont Enterprise defendants.