Criminal Justice

Inmate convicted in attempted murder-for-hire plot against federal judge


After less than an hour of deliberation, a federal jury in Fort Worth on Wednesday found a tax protester guilty of attempting to solicit the murder-for-hire of a federal judge in Texas.

The defense said Phillip Monroe Ballard, 72, didn’t really intend to target District Judge John McBryde, who formerly presided over a federal tax case against Ballard. But a fellow inmate testified that Ballard, concerned about a potential 20-year sentence in the tax case, offered him $100,000 in cash to take out the judge, authorities said. The defendant allegedly suggested using a high-powered rifle to shoot the judge from across the street as he entered the courthouse or, if that didn’t work, planting a bomb in the judge’s vehicle, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Ballard, who has yet to be tried in the tax case, now faces faces a potential prison term of as much as 20 years when he is sentenced in March in the murder-solicitation-attempt case, says an FBI press release.

The newspaper article doesn’t include any comment from Ballard or his defense counsel.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Men Who Hired Fake Lawyer to File Phony Tax Returns Get 1-Year Sentence”

ABAJournal.com: “Inmate indicted in claimed murder-for-hire plot against federal judge”

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