OXFORD – The attorney for suspended FBI agent Hal Neilson was granted permission Wednesday to withdraw from representing him and withdrew all pleadings filed in the case.
What it all means was not immediately clear for Neilson’s indictment and his Aug. 16 jury trial.
Neilson, of Oxford, was indicted Jan. 13 on five counts that he lied about his financial interests in the building housing the local FBI. He pleaded not guilty Feb. 1, just days before he underwent heart triple bypass surgery.
Ken Coghlan of Oxford became his attorney Jan. 22, replacing the Federal Public Defender’s Office. Neilson insisted he did not have the funds for a private attorney.
Tuesday, the pair met with Magistrate Judge S. Allan Alexander in what Coghlan called a “sealed” hearing. Afterward, he declined to say why he was withdrawing or the significance of the pleadings withdrawal.
Coghlan’s motion to withdraw, dated May 28, says a “conflict” developed between him and Neilson, which prevented him from being his attorney any longer.
Tuesday’s motion to withdraw all pleadings is unusual, said a veteran trial attorney, who asked not to be identified. “That is a question about a circumstance I have never run into,” he said, when asked why the defense’s legal documents would be withdrawn.
Wednesday, Alexander also acknowledged Coghlan’s letter to her saying Neilson has withdrawn his indigent status and won’t be asking the court for defense funds.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office could not be contacted for more information.
Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal