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According to a report in the Fresno Bee, Antoian Griffin, will not stand trial on a felony charge of a trying to pay a hit man $200,000 to kill a lawyer because the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office has dropped the charge of solicitation for murder.

The motion to dismiss was submitted one day after the key witness, Curtis McAfee, invoked his right against self-incrimination and declined to testify against defendant Antoian Griffin. After the judge appointed a lawyer for McAfee, McAfee testified.

McAfee said he was remaining silent because a Fresno police detective called him before Wednesday’s hearing and threatened to arrest him if he did not testify against Griffin. McAfee told the judge he could not identify the detective because the man in the telephone call never identified himself.

Assistant District Attorney Steve Wright said dropping the charge was the right thing to do.

“After presenting evidence during the preliminary hearing and hearing from the witnesses that testified in court up to that point, the prosecutor handling the case came to the conclusion that the evidence did not support proceeding any further, so he complied with his ethical and moral obligations by dismissing the case,” Wright said.

Defense attorney Miles Harris said the charge should never have been filed because McAfee is “a mentally unstable individual with a history of making these kinds of claims.”

McAfee and Griffin know each other because McAfee, whom Harris described as “a self-proclaimed paralegal,” had helped Griffin with some legal paperwork involving a workers’ compensation case, Harris said.

It was a strange ending to a criminal case in which Griffin’s lawyer contended that Griffin never threatened a lawyer from the McCormick Barstow firm, nor does he have the money to hire a hit man. Griffin, 57, survives on a $910 monthly disability check, court records show.

In addition, Harris contended law enforcement was duped by McAfee, saying McAfee made up the story. McAfee lacks credibility, Harris said, because he has a criminal record that includes a conviction for making criminal threats.

The target in the alleged murder plot works for McCormick, Barstow, Sheppard, Wayte & Carruth and specializes in personal injury, product liability, medical malpractice and other areas of civil litigation. He is identified in court papers and was identified during Wednesday’s hearing. The Bee is not identifying him because of concern for his family’s safety.

In testimony Wednesday, Fresno police officer Kyle Novak and Cpl. Jacob Dellone said Griffin targeted the lawyer because he had represented another lawyer who once represented Griffin in a workers’ compensation lawsuit. After Griffin lost the lawsuit, he sued both lawyers, court records show.

In June, Judge Mark Snauffer dismissed the suit against the two lawyers, ruling that Griffin had no evidence to support his claim of civil conspiracy.

According to Novak and Dellone, a tipster, later identified as McAfee, called McCormick Barstow two times on Sept. 27 to warn the law firm that Griffin had put “a contract out” on the lawyer and was offering $200,000 to kill him. The caller asked the lawyer not to call police because he feared Griffin would find out. The caller then hung up. In addition, Novak testified that the lawyer never mentioned any threat by Griffin.