Ousted Thrift Chairman Seeks Dismissal, Charging Botched Defense
MIAMI (AP) _ Arguing that his court-appointed lawyers have botched his defense, former CenTrust Savings Bank Chairman David Paul is urging a court to throw out a 100-count indictment against him from the failure of his S&L.
Paul, ousted as chairman in one of the nation’s costliest savings-and-loan failures, filed the motion Monday in federal court over representation by the U.S. public defender’s office.
The government-paid attorneys have been negligent, disorganized and tardy in their six months on his case, Paul charged. ″It’s enough to face all these charges and proceedings with adequate counsel,″ he said.
″Without adequate counsel, it’s like a double nightmare.″ It is unusual for a dismissal motion to be made before a trial has been completed, especially in the pre-trial stages, prosecutors said.
U.S. Public Defender James Gailey has already asked to be excused from the case, but for different reasons: lack of time and money. He was in Washington on Tuesday and not immediately available for comment. Others in his office who have represented Paul did not returns calls.
Paul, accused of looting CenTrust accounts to pad his millionaire lifestyle, estimated in the motion that representing him could cost up to $4 million and take five full-time attorneys.
Paul said he could use $500,000 from an apartment complex in Maine, $70,000 from a retirement account and $170,000 offered by former defense attorney Aubrey Harwell to pay legal bills if the government lets him.
″Every American is supposedly entitled to counsel,″ Paul said. ″If they would release those three assets, I could get private counsel.″
CenTrust failed in February 1990, and Paul has been dogged by regulators ever since. Prosecutors got involved with an indictment last February.
The indictment charges misuse of CenTrust money, illegal junk bond trades with Michael Milken and illegal bond trades with a middleman for the Bank of Commerce and Credit International.
Paul, who has represented himself off an on, has spent much of his time fighting about attorneys and how to pay them since the Office of Thrift Supervision froze his assets and denied him money for anything but living expenses.
Prosecutors and Office of Thrift Supervision attorneys have repeatedly argued against freeing up money for Paul. The U.S. attorney’s office had no comment on the fight between Paul and his defense.