…court appointed attorney withdraws representation
Sonny Ramdeo’s legal woes in the United States of America where he is on trial for various counts of fraud has decided to again change his plea to guilty. And the attorney-at-law whom he recently petitioned the court for, has moved to withdraw from the case.
This is according to the legal court documents filed last Wednesday, with the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida (West Palm Beach).
Ramdeo is the man who started up the now defunct low cost carrier EZjet and was later charged with fraud in the US. He allegedly funneled funds from the US hospital chain where he worked as an accountant to a company he had set up for himself.
Ramdeo, last November, changed his guilty plea to not guilty citing negligence on the part of his then attorney. He then petitioned the court to appoint another public defender since he could not afford one.
It is this attorney who has now ditched him.
According to the court records, among the reasons that the lawyer, Robert Adler, gave in his motion to withdraw, is that he has with Ramdeo on a number of occasions reviewed his options with him and that Ramdeo has decided that “he wishes to move to vacate his plea.”
To vacate a plea essentially means to change your previous plea.
According to the court documents filed on January 16, 2014, “counsel believes that this motion will attack the effectiveness of prior counsel, which would include the representation of Mr. Ramdeo by undersigned counsel… In addition, it appears that undersigned counsel could be a witness at a hearing in regard to the motion to vacate…
“Accordingly, an irreconcilable conflict of interest exists between the Office of the Federal Public Defender and Mr. Ramdeo.”
He noted that Assistant United States Attorney Ellen Cohen has no objection to this motion and as such, the “Office of the Federal Public Defender moves to withdraw as court appointed counsel for Mr. Ramdeo.”
The Office was appointed to represent Ramdeo after he made accusations concerning his prior attorney who represented him at his change of plea.
The Office had previously represented Ramdeo when the case was originally filed but then withdrew when Ramdeo hired Valentin Rodriguez, Esq. to represent him.
Ramdeo subsequently replaced Rodriguez.
The matter will be called up before Judge Kenneth A. Marra in the West Palm Beach Division on Thursday.
Last November, Ramdeo successfully petitioned the US District Court in Florida, to change his guilty plea to that of not guilty. He requested that a new lawyer be appointed by the State, since his defence lawyer had neglected in his obligations.
At that time the EZ Jet founder told the court that he was threatened, coerced and forced to sign the Plea Bargaining arrangement and enter a guilty plea at the beginning of last October.
Ramdeo claimed that his then lawyer informed him that he will withdraw from the case if he did not plead guilty and accept the plea bargaining arrangement which was negotiated.
According to Ramdeo, “Due to stress and coercion, the defendant (Ramdeo) was forced to enter a guilty plea as he was unaware that he can still get counsel, if defense counsel withdraws and his family is without funds to hire another and the defendant himself does not have any funds to hire an attorney.”
Ramdeo was arrested in New York and subsequently transferred to the Southern District of Florida.
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