A former El Rukn general and killer suspected of hatching a secret deal for early release testified Monday that “there wasn’t nothing in it” for him when he helped the city of Chicago defend a lawsuit brought by a man he was once convicted beside.
Authorities once vowed that Earl Hawkins wouldn’t get out of prison until his 70s. But months after Hawkins testified against Nathson Fields in April 2014 — telling jurors he had struck no deal with authorities for a break on his prison sentence — Hawkins was a free man.
That was enough for U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly to order a new trial last year in Fields’ lawsuit against police and prosecutors who put him behind bars. That trial is now underway at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse, where a combative Hawkins took the stand Monday.
Fields, also a former high-ranking El Rukn, spent 18 years behind bars, 12 of them on death row, before he was cleared in 2009 for the 1984 murders of Talman Hickman and Jerome “Fuddy” Smith. He was originally convicted alongside Hawkins in 1986. Later, it was revealed that the presiding judge, Thomas Maloney, had taken a $10,000 bribe from Hawkins’ attorney. The judge began to suspect the feds were watching and gave it back.
Hawkins left prison late in 2014 after the U.S. Parole Commission received letters supportive of Hawkins’ parole from Chicago Police detectives David O’Callaghan and Daniel Brannigan, as well as Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Brian Sexton, records show. But Hawkins told lawyer Jonathan Loevy “that ain’t the reason I got free.”
Later, Hawkins said he believed even in 2009 that he would be released from prison in 2016. Nevertheless, he testified at Fields’ 2009 trial that he didn’t expect to go free until 2027.
He told Loevy he gave the false testimony because “people was badgering me like you are now,” and he wanted to move the proceedings along.