A Walkertown lawyer who has helped lead a white supremacist organization is prohibited from handling clients’ money, a Wake County judge ruled Monday.
The North Carolina State Bar is investigating Harold Ray Crews, 50, on allegations that he mishandled client funds, according to a consent order of preliminary injunction filed in Wake Superior Court.
Crews has served as chairman of the League of the South’s North Carolina chapter. It is not clear whether he still holds that post.
League of the South, which is headquartered in Killen, Ala., was formed in 1994 and promotes white southern nationalism. The Southern Poverty Law Center has listed League of the South as a hate group.
League of the South played a significant role in the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va.
It was at that rally that white nationalist James Alex Fields Jr., drove his car into a crowed of counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyer and injuring two dozen others. Fields was convicted of murder and other crimes in state and federal courts and was given two life sentences.
League of the South and other white nationalist and neo-Confederate groups were protesting the city’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a downtown park.
Two months after the rally, Crews obtained an arrest warrant for DeAndre Harris, a 20-year-old black man who was severely beaten in a parking garage by a group of white nationalists. Crews accused Harris of hitting him in the face with a flashlight during the altercation.
He told a magistrate that he had been permanently scarred from the alleged assault.
Crews declined to comment in October 2017 to a Winston-Salem Journal reporter. He told the reporter to “go away.”
Harris was ultimately acquitted of the charge. Three men were convicted of beating Harris.
According to the consent order, the N.C. State Bar received information that Crews mishandled entrusted client funds. The order does not contain details about the allegations, such as how much money he is accused of mishandling or whether more than one client is involved in the allegations.
Katherine Jean, general counsel for the N.C. State Bar, said Wednesday that she could not comment on a pending investigation. She said the order does not prohibit Crews from practicing law.
She confirmed that the order only prohibits him from handling his clients’ money.
The order means Crews cannot write checks or withdraw funds from his clients’ accounts and he must provide the State Bar with records and any other information about how he handled his previous clients’ accounts.
The order indicates that Crews is cooperating with the State Bar and that he is waiving any right to appeal or challenge the consent order.
Crews is also barred from serving as an attorney-in-fact, a trustee, an executor, a personal representative or in any other capacity that involves handling his clients’ entrusted funds, the order said.
Crews has been practicing law since 1999. The number listed for his law office appeared to be disconnected Wednesday, and Crews could not be reached for comment.