Pittsburgh man who punched his lawyer in federal courtroom quickly convicted in drug and gun trial

From the Pittsburgh Gazette

A violent criminal with a long history of felonies who punched his own lawyer in a federal courtroom earlier this week was quickly convicted Thursday on federal drug and gun counts related to a 2015 incident in McKeesport, where he had threatened to shoot up a house.

A jury took about an hour to find James Taric Byrd, 45, of Pittsburgh, guilty on multiple counts.

Byrd was indicted in 2017 and had repeatedly sparred with his court-appointed lawyer, R. Damien Schorr, who had asked to be removed from the case. U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon wouldn’t let him.

The acrimony turned violent on Monday during a break in jury selection when Byrd suddenly punched Mr. Schorr in the head in Judge Bissoon’s courtroom as the two sat next to each and argued over witnesses. No jurors were in the room and the judge wasn’t on the bench, but the prosecution team witnessed the attack and it’s on video as well. U.S. marshals pounced on Byrd and later testified about what happened.

Read full story