By Patsy R. Brumfield
ABERDEEN – A new attorney for accused poison-letter scheme defendant J. Everett Dutschke of Tupelo will seek more time to prepare his case.
Dutschke, a former martial arts instructor, is due to go on trial Oct. 7 in Aberdeen facing multiple federal charges that he masterminded a plan to discredit another man and mailed ricin-laden letters to President Obama and two other elected officials.
If convicted, he faces up to life in prison. He maintains his innocence.
Ken Coghlan of Oxford, Dutschke’s newly appointed attorney, said he will ask the court to grant him more time to prepare Dutschke’s defense, especially to examine all the evidence and other information already gathered, as well as mount his own investigation.
After his appointment Tuesday, Coghlan said he had a lot of details to catch up on.
Monday, Oxford-based federal public defenders George Lucas and Gregory Park asked the U.S. District Court to allow them to withdraw as Dutschke’s attorneys because of an ethical “conflict with another client.”
Dutschke of Tupelo remains in the Lafayette County Detention Center charged with multiple federal counts that he sent ricin-laiden letters to President Barack Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker and Lee County Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland last spring. No one was hurt, and only Holland opened the letter.
Dutschke insists he is innocent of the charges for which his conviction could result in a life sentence. Lucas declined to identify the other client.
Coghlan comes from a court-appointed panel of a dozen private attorneys in the region who back up the Federal Public Defenders Office.