Criminal Justice

Tax protester gets 20-year max in attempted murder-for-hire plot against federal judge

Convicted last year of attempting to solicit the murder-for-hire of a federal judge in Fort Worth, a Texas man has been sentenced to a 20-year prison term, the maximum for the offense.

Phillip Monroe Ballard, 72, was found guilty by a jury in December of offering $100,000 to an undercover FBI agent in 2012 to kill U.S. District Judge John McBryde, who was then presiding over a federal tax case against Ballard. Concerned about a potential 20-year sentence in the tax case, the defendant allegedly suggested that a hit man use a high-powered rifle to shoot the judge from across the street as he entered the courthouse or, if that didn’t work, plant a bomb in the judge’s vehicle. The plot was foiled when a fellow inmate played along and helped the feds make a case against Ballard.

U.S. District Judge Donald E. Walter from the Western District of Louisiana presided over Ballard’s trial in the murder-solicitation case and gave him the max at his Monday sentencing in Fort Worth, reports the Star-Telegram. A press release by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas that was published by KAGS provides further details.

The tax case is still pending against Ballard, who has taken the position that he is a sovereign citizen immune from U.S. laws.

Hat tip: Law 360 (sub. req.)

See also: “Inmate convicted in attempted murder-for-hire plot against federal judge”

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