A new court filing claims that an attorney who has been described as the district attorney’s “legal advisor” was behind a pair of mysterious emails that have come to dominate the 2019 Walmart mass shooting state capital murder case.
“I am convinced that the emails purportedly sent from an email address associated with the Hoffmann family were actually sent by someone in the Office of the District Attorney, including District Attorney Yvonne Rosales, Roger Rodriguez, ADA Curtis Cox, and potentially other upper management staff of the DA’s Office to advance their own agenda,” attorney Justin Underwood wrote in a Thursday filing.
Those emails are at the heart of a hearing scheduled for Oct. 11 in which state District Court Judge Sam Medrano Jr. will decide whether the Hoffmanns, the family of one of the 23 people killed at the Walmart, violated the gag order he imposed on all attorneys and witnesses in the case.
Underwood’s filing, known as an ad litem report, includes transcripts of audio recordings made by the Hoffman family of Rodriguez, as well as sworn statements in which Rodriguez vowed to have Medrano removed from the case, threatening legal action if necessary. Rodriguez appears to claim at one point that he will eventually be appointed to oversee the case.
Underwood was appointed by Medrano to represent the family in a hearing regarding the gag order, which was originally scheduled for mid-August but was postponed while the district attorney’s motion to recuse Medrano was heard in court.
Allegations of Rodriguez’s involvement in these emails first surfaced during a recusal hearing on September 27, when a visiting judge ruled that Medrano could remain on the case.
Valdez is the widow of Walmart shooting victim Alexander Gerhard Hoffmann Roth, a German national who lived in Ciudad Juárez and had three children with her.
The email, which appeared to be sent from Valdez’s personal email address and bore the signature of Valdez’s son, Alexander Hoffmann, attacked former prosecutor Amanda Enriquez for giving an interview about the case on the three-year anniversary of the shooting. It accused Enriquez of “using this case for political purposes,” but provided no further details.
According to documents obtained under the Texas Public Information Act, the recipients of the email largely matched media distribution lists used by the El Paso County District Attorney’s Office to send out news releases.
This claim is supported by affidavits from Valdez and her sons Alexander and Thomas, as well as 110 minutes of recorded conversations between the family and Rodriguez.
According to the filing, the family began recording their interactions with him due to his “abnormal behavior and the fact that he was representing District Attorney Yvonne Rosales.” It goes on to say that Underwood turned over this evidence to the FBI.
Underwood’s filing also claims that Rodriguez tried, but failed, to intimidate Valdez into signing a contract with Juárez-based attorney Jose Morales. On August 24, Morales allegedly emailed Medrano to inform him that he was now representing the Hoffmanns and that they would not be attending any future hearings. Any attempts to force them to attend – and testify – “will be reported to the Mexican authorities for prosecution,” according to the email.
Defense attorneys for the alleged Walmart shooter have accused the District Attorney’s Office of attempting to remove Medrano in order to conceal details about Rodriguez’s involvement in the case that would have been revealed by the Hoffmanns’ testimony.
In a phone call with the family on August 13, Rodriguez refers to multiple conspiracies surrounding the shooting and claims that El Paso Matters CEO Robert Moore is involved in efforts to overturn the prosecution of the case and have Rosales removed from office.
According to Underwood’s report, the Hoffmann family informed him that the DA’s office intended to target Medrano, Enriquez, and Moore. “Hard blows are coming against the enemies,” Rodriguez said in an Aug. 31 phone call to his family.
Rosales filed the motion to recuse Medrano nine days after that phone call. On the same day as the call, an anonymous person complained to the Internal Revenue Service about El Paso Matters’ tax-exempt status.
Rodriguez rambles throughout the recordings, evoking his faith and frequently referring to Jesus Christ and God, whom he says “tests us.” He dominates the discussions and repeatedly advises the family to ignore calls from the District Attorney’s Office and to not attend future hearings, even if they are subpoenaed – or legally compelled – to do so.