Dallas Attorney Rayshun Jackson Pleads Guilty on Federal Money Laundering Charge

As part of his plea agreement, attorney Rayshun Jackson could spend five years in a federal prison.
As part of his plea agreement, attorney Rayshun Jackson could spend five years in a federal prison.
Dallas attorney Rayshun Jackson once went to bat for former Mayor Pro Tem Don Hill. He took on the federal government after a teenager, a U.S. citizen, was wrongly deported to Colombia. He was time and again recognized in the local press and even made it onto the DART advisory board for a while.

Jackson, 52, now appears to be heading to prison. This week he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money he believed came from drug trafficking.

First arrested in April, Jackson had agreed to launder money for a supposed drug dealer who was actually an undercover DEA agent, he admitted in plea papers. Starting in September 2020, the lawyer laundered some $380,000 for the supposed drug trafficker, according to the Department of Justice.

As part of his plea agreement, Jackson could face up to five years in federal prison and will have to pay back $20,000, the amount of money he made during his supposed laundering operations. He’ll also likely lose his law license.

“As an attorney, Mr. Jackson swore an oath to uphold the rule of law — an oath he violated completely when he conspired with purported drug traffickers to commit a federal offense,” Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah said in a press release.

Jackson had told the undercover DEA agent that he could clean some $500,000 each month by running the money through coin laundries, car washes and other cash-based businesses. He also offered to use his law firm’s bank accounts, among others, to transfer the money back and forth.

“Money launderers, like Mr. Jackson, complete the circle of drug trafficking by returning ill-gained profits to criminal organizations,” DEA Dallas Special Agent in Charge Eduardo A. Chávez said in the DOJ press release.

“As a defense attorney, Mr. Jackson disregarded his oath to promote respect and confidence in the legal profession,” Chávez added.

In 2012, Jackson gained national attention while representing Jakadrien Turner, a teenager who was wrongly deported to Colombia after being arrested in Houston and giving police a fake name.

Turner recently spoke out about Jackson, alleging that he coached her to lie to authorities and press after she eventually made it back to the U.S. She also accused Jackson of using her life story as material for a self-published novel he wrote.

Before that, he represented former City Council member Don Hill, who was eventually convicted of bribery in 2009. (Later, Jackson and Hill found themselves together in hot water for violating a judge’s gag order and speaking to the press.)
KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Patrick Strickland is the news editor at the Dallas Observer. He's a former senior reporter at Al Jazeera English and has reported for the New York Review of Books, The Guardian, Politico EU and The New Republic, among others.