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Al-Arian lawyers want out of case

Former USF professor Sami Al-Arian’s court appointed lawyers filed a motion Wednesday to be dismissed from the terrorism related case. The motion filed with Judge James Moody would allow Al-Arian to represent himself, at his request, on the 50-count indictment unless he is successful in hiring another lawyer, according to a Tampa Bay Coalition for Peace and Justice news release.

The decision comes a month after the attorneys appeared on The O’Reilly Factor without consulting Al-Arian. Frank Louderback and Jeffery Brown were interviewed by the show’s host, Bill O’Reilly,The show’s host, Bill O’Reilly, interviewed Frank Louderback and Jeffery Brown on June 11 about Al-Arian’s prison conditions and the court’s decision to reject a speedy trial.

According to the Tampa Bay Coalition for Peace and Justice, the national airing of the show “undermined (Al-Arian’s) defense and sent the wrong message to the community.”

“Hopefully, through his self-representation, Dr. Al-Arian’s constitutional right to due process will be protected…,” the news release stated.

Neither Louderback nor Al-Arian’s wife Nahla could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening.

Louderback and Brown were assigned to the case that charges Al-Arian with racketeering and conspiracy to murder in April when Al-Arian could no longer afford to retain Nicholas Matassini at $2 million.

Though Al-Arian wants to represent himself, he is seeking the assistance of Washington, D.C. attorney William B. Moffitt for the trial that is scheduled for January 2005. Supporters have continued to raise money to assist Al-Arian in his defense. Al-Arian and his supporters were denied additional time to raise money to retain Matassini. If the same situation occurs in Al-Arian’s pursuit of Moffitt , the judge may have to assign a standby counsel in Al-Arian’s self representation.