Alamo fires attorney ahead of trial

Lawsuit filed by two ex-members scheduled for court at month’s end

— Imprisoned evangelist Tony Alamo has fired the attorney who was to have represented him at a trial later this month in a civil lawsuit by two former members of Alamo’s ministry, the attorney said in a court filing.

Attorney John Wesley Hall Jr. of Little Rock said in the filing, dated Sunday, that Alamo’s wife, Sharon, told him earlier that day that he was “immediately discharged from this case.”

Hall has represented Alamo in the lawsuit by Seth Calagna and Spencer Ondrisek, who say they were beaten at Alamo’s direction while they were members of the ministry.

Calagna and Ondrisek in October 2009 won a $3 million default judgment in the case against John Kolbeck, whom they accused of carrying out the beatings. Kolbeck died of congestive heart failure at a house near Louisa, Ky., in January.

The case against Alamo is set for trial May 31 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Bryant in Texarkana.

In the court filing, Hall asked Bryant for permission to withdraw from the case in light of the firing.

“Defense counsel has not been informed what will happen in regards to defendant obtaining other counsel, although it appears they will do so,” Hall wrote.

Attorney David Carter of Texarkana, Texas, who represents Calagna and Ondrisek, said in a court filing that his clients do not oppose Hall’srequest as long as the trial is carried out as scheduled.

Bryant had not ruled late Monday afternoon on Hall’s request to withdraw.

Hall wrote that he was told he will likely also be fired as Alamo’s attorney in other cases, “of which there are several.” That includes another civil lawsuit filed by seven former ministry members, including six women who say Alamo took them as his “wives” at young ages. That case is set for trial in May 2012.

Alamo, 75, was convicted in Texarkana in 2009 of taking five of the women across state lines for sex when they were underage in violation of the federal Mann Act and was sentenced to 175 years in prison. He is an inmate at a federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind.

Arkansas, Pages 10 on 05/17/2011