5/18/11 – AP: Alamo Flip-Flops, Rehires Attorney

Times Record
May 18, 2011
Jeannie Nuss, The Associated Press

Alamo Flip-Flops, Rehires Attorney

An evangelist convicted of taking young girls across state lines for sex rehired the attorney he fired earlier this week, according to a court document filed Wednesday.

Tony Alamo’s latest attorney flip-flop comes after Little Rock-based John Wesley Hall Jr. asked the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on the child sex-related charges that landed his client in federal prison for 175 years.

In a court filing dated May 10, Hall questioned how the Mann Act, a century-old law originally aimed at stopping women from being sold into prostitution, applies to Alamo.

Alamo, whose real name is Bernie Lazar Hoffman, was convicted in 2009 on 10 counts of violating the Mann Act. A federal appeals court upheld those criminal convictions late last year.

But Hall argues that the appeals court affirmed convictions even when Alamo didn’t have sex on a trip, “essentially reducing the Mann Act to this: If you are in an unlawful sexual relationship, neither of the participants can cross a state line.”

Alamo had instructed his wife, Sharon, to fire Hall after she met with him Sunday at a federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind. Hall declined to comment on why he was fired, citing attorney-client privilege.

But at some point, Alamo changed his mind and emailed his wife, telling her to rehire Hall: “Dear Sharon, Please rehire Mr. hall immediately. I got a copy of the girls case, he did a good job. Love and Kisses, Tony.”

The email, sent from a federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., was dated Wednesday morning, but Hall said there’s no way to tell when Alamo sent it because communications there are often delayed.

Alamo, who is involved in nearly a dozen other cases, faces an upcoming trial, set to begin May 31 in Texarkana. In that civil lawsuit, two former members of his ministry allege that he ordered another man, John Kolbek, to beat them. The men, Spencer Ondrisek and Seth Calagna, each were awarded $1.5 million from Kolbek after he failed to respond to their lawsuit. Kolbek died in January.

David Carter, a Texarkana-based attorney for Ondrisek and Calagna, said Alamo was trying to delay that case by firing his attorney.

“(Alamo) has repeatedly discharged his attorneys in this and other cases,” Carter wrote in a court document filed Tuesday. “As he has done in the past, (Alamo) now seeks to delay these proceedings by attempting to discharge his attorney in the eleventh hour, less than two weeks before trial.”

Alamo had previously fired Hall in 2009, when he faced federal child sex-related charges. He’s hired him three times.

“Third time’s a charm,” Hall said Wednesday. “Or is it three strikes and you’re out?”

In: 2011

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