CINCINNATI – A federal judge on Wednesday appointed new attorneys for a man accused of plotting to attack the U.S. Capitol in support of Islamic State group extremists.
Those attorneys also represent a man charged with threatening to kill Republican House Speaker John Boehner.
U.S. District Judge Sandra Beckwith’s order states that the federal public defender representing Christopher Lee Cornell in the Capitol plot case had asked for permission to withdraw, citing an “irreconcilable conflict of interest which exists.” The judge wrote that she he met twice recently with defense counsel and that Cornell, of western Cincinnati, asked that new counsel be appointed to represent him “as soon as possible.”
No other details were available immediately on the conflict.
The judge appointed lawyers Martin Pinales and Candace Crouse. The lawyers also represent Michael Hoyt, a former Cincinnati area country club bartender scheduled for trial Monday on a charge he threatened to kill Boehner with a gun or by poisoning his drink. They have indicated they will argue that Hoyt, who has pleaded not guilty, was insane.
Pinales said he had just gotten involved in Cornell’s case and couldn’t comment further.
Cornell has pleaded not guilty to four charges, including attempted murder of U.S. officials and employees. He has been held without bond since his Jan. 14 arrest. His trial schedule is pending because of evidence deadlines that go into early next year.
Attorney Karen Savir, of the federal public defender’s office, had represented Cornell since January. She had unsuccessfully tried in March to block airing of TV station WXIX’s interview with Cornell in which he said he wanted to go to Washington, D.C., and shoot President Barack Obama in the head.
Savir didn’t respond immediately to a message seeking comment Wednesday.
The FBI has said Cornell, 21, wanted to “wage jihad” by attacking the Capitol. It said Cornell, who uses the Muslim name Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah, planned to attack the Capitol with pipe bombs and to shoot government officials and employees.
Cornell’s father has said he was misled and coerced by “a snitch.”