Fraud Defendant Causes Texas Court Brawl


Houston (AP) — Witnesses said defendants in a criminal fraud case beat and attacked court officials, prosecutors, and judges after being denied detention on Tuesday in a court hearing in Houston.

Joseph Catalinault, 58, was regularly present in front of state district judge Danny Lacayo when the judge asked if the defendant needed a lawyer. Told the Houston Chronicle..

When Catalinault spoke rudely to him, Rakayo denied his bond and instructed the executive to detain him, said Daniel Glasscock, who was waiting to appear in another case.

According to prosecutor Jacob Salinas, when the courtman tried to detain him, Catalinault grabbed the courtman’s hair, took her to the ground, and began beating her.

“He was just mourning her, so I tried to dive in,” Salinas said. Rakayo came down from the bench to help Salinas, and both exchanged punches with Catalinault, he said.

“The point is not to hit the agent in front of me,” Rakayo said.

When former college football linemen Salinas and Rakayo subdued the man, the court officials regained the stun gun that Catalinault knocked from her hand, shot the man, and shocked all three, Salinas said.

Catalinault was charged in 2018 with falsifying financial statements for working for American Airlines and Emboyair, and borrowed money from both companies. According to court records, Catalinault’s lawyer requested the judge to withdraw from the case on December 13.

According to court records, Catalinault worked as an Emboyair pilot until he was fired for “unstable behavior” in 2017. He declared himself a “sovereign” who did not have to pay federal income tax. The sovereign citizen movement has extremists and is itself exempt from most federal and state laws and believes it is associated with violence.

He is now likely facing three assaults on civil servants, said Sean Thea, senior prosecutor in Harris County.