LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A former prosecutor best known for his role in the O.J. Simpson murder trial will no longer represent a man charged with killing rapper Nipsey Hussle and injuring two other men in South Los Angeles, a judge announced Friday.

Christopher Darden left the downtown Los Angeles courtroom before the case was called, but Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Teresa Sullivan noted that she granted Darden’s request to withdraw from the case and appointed the Los
Angeles County Public Defender’s Office to represent Eric Ronald Holder Jr., 29.

Holder – who was represented by Darden at his April 4 arraignment – has plead not guilty to one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon.

He remains jailed in lieu of $5 million bail while awaiting his next court appearance June 12, when a date is scheduled to be set for a hearing to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to require him to stand trial.

In a Facebook post earlier Friday, Darden suggested threats against his family factored in his decision to step aside.

“As for my reasons for withdrawing I don’t know whether I will disclose them later or not,” Darden wrote. “I only know that as a lawyer it is my duty to protect the rights of my clients even in the face of threats or angry mobs … I cannot understand why in 2019 some people would deny a black man his 6th Amendment right to counsel of his choice. Or why defending such a man should invite threats not only against me but against my children too … Just as they were in 1995 — Cowards never change.”

Holder is accused of fatally shooting the 33-year-old Hussle — whose real name is Ermias Joseph Asghedom — on March 31 in front of The Marathon Clothing store in Hyde Park.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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