Demjanjuk Affirms Firing of Counsel O’connor, but No Replacement Hired

Suspected war criminal John Demjanjuk affirmed to the Jerusalem district court Monday that he has decided to replace American lawyer Mark O’Connor as his chief defense counsel.

Demjanjuk signed a letter of dismissal two weeks ago. O’Connor contended that his Ukrainian-born client, on trial here for war crimes committed when he was allegedly a guard at the Treblinka death camp, was confused over the consequences of his letter.

The court, meeting in special recess session last week, gave Demjanjuk five days to reconsider. He told the court Monday that after careful consideration and consultation with his family, his dismissal of O’Connor stands.

The court intervened because it must approve a change of counsel in mid-trial. It also made clear to Demjanjuk that it would entertain no motion to postpone the trial, which is scheduled to be resumed July 27. The defendant said his decision to fire O’Connor was not linked to a request for postponement.

Meanwhile, Demjanjuk’s family is trying to find a replacement for O’Connor. Last week it had reportedly engaged Washington attorney John Broadley. But Broadley was unable to accept the brief.

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