A former law clerk in the US attorney’s office in New Jersey will spend 33 months in prison for exposing “snitchers” who were cooperating against her Brooklyn gang member son.
Tawanna Hilliard, 48, was sentenced in Brooklyn Federal Court Tuesday on witness retaliation, conspiracy and other charges.
Hilliard’s son, Tyquan Hilliard, is a member of 5-9 Brims, and in 2018 he was arrested along with two other suspects, identified in court documents as John and Jane Doe, for holding up a cell phone store in Monticello, New York. prosecutors said.
His accomplices gave videotaped post-arrest statements, which his mother found in pretrial discovery material, then posted John Doe’s statement on YouTube with the caption, “NYC Brim Gang Member SITCHING! pint 1.” on August 5, 2018.
In a recorded jailhouse call, Hilliard’s son asked him to also post video of the second accomplice tagging the first. That video surfaced on YouTube with the caption, “NYC Brim Gang Member Girlfriend SNITCHING.”
As a result, both John and the Jane Doe received several death threats and the Jane Doe had to move for her safety, prosecutors said.
“The defendant, whose job it was to serve justice, instead threatened the integrity of our justice system and the safety of government witnesses,” US Attorney Breon Peace said.
A jury found Hilliard guilty after a week-long trial last year.
“Defendant’s conduct sent shockwaves throughout, furthering the gang’s goal of instilling fear and doubt in citizens who could now remain silent about the crimes they have witnessed,” Assistant US Attorney Lindsey Oken wrote in a letter. to Judge Pamela Chen earlier this month. Chen handed down the sentence on Tuesday.
Oken added: “The very nature of the defendant’s crimes serves to destabilize the foundations of the criminal justice system, which requires a serious message that crimes against justice will not be tolerated.”
Hilliard’s son is serving a five-year federal sentence after pleading guilty to witness tampering conspiracy in November 2020.