Home>Highlight>Charlie McKenna’s new client is a gang member called ‘Half a Brain’

Former New Jersey Schools Development Authority CEO Charles B. McKenna. (Photo: New Jersey Globe.)

Charlie McKenna’s new client is a gang member called ‘Half a Brain’

Ex-SDA boss got 100 month plea deal for Crips gang member involved in murder, drug trafficking

By David Wildstein, January 14 2021 8:53 pm

Charles B. McKenna has gone from being the top lawyer for the Governor of New Jersey to working out a plea deal for a member of the violent New Jersey Grape Street Crips gang known as “Half a Brain” who has the gang’s senior hierarchy tattooed on his face.

McKenna served as chief counsel to Gov. Chris Christie from 2012 to 2014, and then as the bewildered CEO of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority who didn’t quite know how he hired Al Alvarez or why he didn’t fire him.

His client, Sean Hills, was sentenced to 100 months in prison after admitting his role in an attempted murder and narcotics trafficking.

According to acting U.S. Attorney Rachael Honig, Hills repeatedly shot a victim as part of a bid to take over a drug-trafficking territory in Newark in 2012 and also participated in a 2013 shooting.

McKenna spent 18 years as a federal prosecutor before joining the Christie administration after the 2009 election.

Honig said that more than 80 Grape Street Crips gang member shave been prosecuted since 2015.

McKenna is a court-appointed attorney — Hills’ third since his arrest — and was named in October 2020.

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