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Fed Prosecutors Claim Underwear Bomber’s “Standby Attorney” is Overstepping

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marshals photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The case of the Christmas-day “underwear bomber” continues have its odd moments.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit on Friday filed a motion saying that Anthony Chambers, the “standby attorney” representing defendant Umar Farouk Abdulmutalla, appears to be doing “too much.”

Abdulmutalla is representing himself and Chambers has been appointed his “standby attorney”, meaning he’s there to provide the defendant advice.

Chambers has asked that Abdulmutalla not be required to attend hearings. He has also asked for the files from attorneys at the Federal Defenders Office, who represented Abdulutalla until he fired them.

The government wants the judge to reject those requests, saying that if Abdulmutalla wants to represent himself, he should show up in court. They also said it is up to the defendant to ask for the files from his previous lawyers, not his standby attorney.

“It seems that defendant must choose between acting as his own attorney, and thus attending all court proceedings, or being represented and having the ability to waive his presence for procedural matters,” federal prosecutors wrote.

“However, on the current state of the record, there is no indication that defendant understands those choices, and therefore his presence should be required.”

Read Government’s Motion

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