Parade killings defendant's lawyer in prior cases quits, cites connections to victims in Waukesha

·2 min read

One of Darrell Brooks' attorneys has dropped him as a client because of the attorney's connections to victims of the Waukesha Christmas Parade massacre for which Brooks faces six homicide counts.

Darrell Brooks appears in Waukesha County Court on Nov. 23. He is charged with killing six people and injuring dozens more after plowing through a Christmas parade with his sport utility vehicle on Nov. 21.
Darrell Brooks appears in Waukesha County Court on Nov. 23. He is charged with killing six people and injuring dozens more after plowing through a Christmas parade with his sport utility vehicle on Nov. 21.

At the time of the Nov. 21 incident, Brooks was out on bail from two pending cases in Milwaukee County.

On Tuesday, his attorney in those cases, Joseph Domask, asked to withdraw, citing an ethics rule about conflicts of interest he said arose from "relationships and familiarities" between him and his office and individuals, families and groups affected by the violent attack on the parade.

More: What we know about the Waukesha Christmas Parade attack

Authorities say Brooks, 39, drove a red Ford Escape into the parade route and deliberately steered into those marching and watching. Six people died, and dozens were injured.

Brooks is being held at the Waukesha County Jail, which does not support Zoom appearances, so he listened to Tuesday's virtual hearing by telephone.

Domask said he was sorry he couldn't meet with Brooks earlier to explain his conflict and intention to withdraw in person.

Domask also asked to meet privately with Milwaukee County Circuit Judge David Feiss to explain his conflicts in detail but without putting names of people involved in the parade on the record. Feiss said that was unnecessary, and granted Domask's motion to withdraw.

Prosecutors had no objections.

But Deputy District Attorney Matthew Torbenson did indicate that his office may seek additional conditions be imposed on Brooks in jail after discovering evidence that he engaged in witness intimidation while jailed in Milwaukee on one of his pending cases there. That case, filed on Nov. 5, includes charges of domestic violence-related recklessly endangering safety, bail jumping and other counts.

Feiss said the judge in Brooks' other Milwaukee County case, Michelle Havas, agreed it made sense for Feiss to handle Domask's motion to withdraw from both cases because of the complications of Brooks' appearance from Waukesha County Jail.

Brooks' next appearance on the Milwaukee County matters is set for Dec. 20 to determine whether he has new counsel and to address the conditions raised by Torbenson.

Brooks also has a pending 2020 felony in Milwaukee County, in which he's charged with shooting at his nephew and another person as they drove away from him, and with possessing a gun as a felon.

Contact Bruce Vielmetti at (414) 224-2187 or bvielmetti@jrn.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ProofHearsay.

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Darrell Brooks' lawyer in prior cases quits, cites parade victims ties

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