UPDATE 9:30 A.M.
ABERDEEN – A new attorney for accused poison-letter scheme defendent J. Everett Dutschke of Tupelo will seek more time to prepare his case, he told the Daily Journal today.
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 today 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.
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ABERDEEN – Kenneth Coghlan of Oxford is the new court-appointed attorney for poison-letter scheme defendant J. Everett Dutschke, Judge Sharion Aycock ordered Tuesday.
Change of representation often results in the delay of a trial; in this case Dutschke’s is set to begin Oct. 7.
Shortly after his appointment, Coghlan said he has a lot of details to catch up on and can’t comment yet on how he will proceed.
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 actually opened the letter.
Dutschke, a former martial arts instructor, insists he is innocent of the charges for which his conviction could result in a life sentence.
Lucas declined to say who the other client is but was emphatic it was not Dutschke’s wife.
“We do not represent Mrs. Dutschke,” he said.
Dutschke’s wife has not been charged with any wrongdoing, but her name appeared in an FBI affidavit describing investigations that led up to his arrest April 27.
A change in attorneys often results in a delay in going to trial – in this case in less than a month before Judge Sharion Aycock.
Coghlan comes from a court-appointed panel of a dozen private attorneys in the region who back up the Federal Public Defenders Office.
Dutschke also is accused of masterminding a plot to blame Kevin Curtis of Corinth, an Elvis tribute artist who claims the two men have feuded across several years.
Federal authorities released Curtis and dropped the charges against him last April when his attorney, Christi R. McCoy of Oxford, forced them to admit they had no direct link between her client and ricin.
When Curtis suggested that Dutschke could have tried to frame him, investigators focused anew and later claimed to find traces of the poison in Dutschke’s Tupelo studio, as well as other supporting evidence.