Trials & Litigation

Inmate gets new lawyer, sentence delay after 'outrageous' claim of defense lawyer-prosecutor affair

Convicted murderer Michael Anderson was supposed to be sentenced Monday after pleading guilty to second-degree murder last month in the slaying of his former girlfriend’s sister.

But as family members of the victim sat in court waiting to have their say in the Albany, N.Y., case, the 29-year-old Anderson stunned the courtroom by saying he wanted to rescind his plea and claiming that his lawyer, Michael Jurena, had been having an affair with the prosecutor in the case, the Times Union reports.

Judge Stephen Herrick immediately interrupted and called Anderson’s claim of an affair between the two “outrageous,” the newspaper recounts. However, he also agreed to appoint a new lawyer for Anderson over the conflict created by his claim. Herrick postponed further action on the case until April.

Anderson, who had been medically cleared to take a plea, according to his lawyer, contended in court Monday that he was inebriated on prescription medication when he agreed to conclude the case with a guilty plea.

Outside of court, Jurena said he had done nothing wrong.

“My experience very often with people who have moments when they’re thinking about what’s going to happen with them for the rest of their life, they want to blame somebody,” he told the newspaper. “Usually, the first person they think of is their lawyer.”

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