Lead Defense Lawyer Disqualified in Trial of Alleged Mexican Drug Kingpin
Posted May 23, 2011 4:03 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
Saying that allowing an alleged Mexican drug kingpin to be represented by the lead lawyer of his choice could create significant distraction and delay during trial, a federal judge in San Diego today disqualified Jan Ronis from continuing to defend Benjamin Arellano Felix.
Although U.S. District Judge Larry Burns held that the well-known California lawyer could potentially be called as a witness, Ronis, 65, argued that the government's effort to force him off the case was an attempt to "stack the deck" against his client, according to the Associated Press and an earlier San Diego Union-Tribune article.
Arellano Felix, who was extradited to the United States from Mexico, has pleaded not guilty in the racketeering and money-laundering case, according to 10News.com.