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Bashara: Attorney, trial date change

February 20, 2014
By Kathy Ryan

Staff Writer

DETROIT — It may be late summer before Bob Bashara goes to trial for the murder of his wife, Jane, as the judge presiding over the case granted his request for a new attorney.

Wayne County Circuit Judge Vonda Evans on Tuesday granted Bashara's request that attorneys from the Public Defenders Office be removed from his case and that the court appoint noted criminal defense attorneys David Cripps and Gabi Silver to represent him.

Bashara was scheduled to go to trial March 3. The trial will be delayed.

At the hearing, Evans read a letter Bashara had written to her requesting the change in representation, then questioned Bashara to make certain he understood if Cripps and Silver were appointed, he would not be going to trial in March. Bashara assured the judge he understood.

Bashara also assured the court he had been satisfied with the representation by public defenders Mark Procida and Nancy Shell. However, he said the removal of another public defender, Renee Cooper, from his case had "caused me great consternation."

In addition to appointing Cripps and Silver, Evans said she would appoint another attorney to assist them.

"They will have another attorney to do the handy work," Evans said.

At a hearing last month, Evans said she had procured $200,000 from Wayne County to pay Bashara's legal fees.

Bashara initially requested that Cripps be appointed to supplement the work of his public defenders, but instead Evans ruled that the public defenders will be removed and Cripps and Silver will become attorneys of record.

Then Bashara asked Evans to allow Procida and Shell to remain on the case to assist Cripps and Silver.

"If I might put an asterisk to my request, your Honor, it would be a way for them to work with Cripps and Silver in order to allow for a smooth transition," Bashara said.

Evans denied his request.

Procida said he would turn over all files and discovery materials to the new attorneys.

While the prosecutors did not formally object, they did question how fast a trial date could be established. Assistant Prosecutor Lisa Lindsey questioned that with Cripps' and Silvers' busy trial schedules, it could be October or November before they could be ready for trial.

Evans said she thought a date of June, July or August could be established.

Bashara, along with his new attorneys, will be back in court for a pretrial hearing Tuesday, March 11.

Bashara faces seven counts, including first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, witness intimidation, solicitation to commit murder, suborning perjury during a capital trial, obstruction of justice and felony firearm.

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