Gal Pissetzky and Vicki Podberesky, the two U.S. attorneys who represented Nigerian fraud suspect Ramon Abbas, better known as Hushpuppi, have asked to withdraw from the case.
They have both filed a motion in United States District Court in California stating their intent.
The motion was filed Jan. 21 and the court will hear it Feb. 22.
The attorneys cited communication problems as the reason for the withdrawal and also that Hushpuppi has hired new attorneys to defend him.
Mr. Gal Pissetzky said, “Since Mr. Abbas’ arrest and arrival in the Central District of California, I have received extensive evidence from the government, which I have diligently reviewed and investigated the allegations in this matter.
“My communications with Mr. Abbas are by telephone, as I am unable to fly from Chicago to Los Angeles due to the pandemic.
“Ms. Podberesky, as local counsel, has visited Mr. Abbas several times at the Santa Ana jail and has also communicated with him by telephone.
I provided a copy of discovery to Mr. Abbas through Ms. Podberesky, reviewed it with him, and had numerous conference calls with Mr. Abbas, and Ms. Podberesky also met with him in person to discuss the case.
“We discussed with Mr. Abbas the possible theories that might be available to him at trial, pretrial motions, sentencing guidelines, and the possibility of a plea agreement.
After months of discussions with Mr Abbas and negotiations with the government, Mr Abbas now refuses to communicate effectively with me.
I have made numerous attempts through family and prison staff to have Mr Abbas call me to discuss critical issues.
“However, Mr. Abbas has not communicated with me. Both the family and the prison staff told me that they forwarded my messages to Mr. Abbas to call me. He informed me that he has a new legal counsel.
I informed him that I and Ms. Podberesky will withdraw because he refuses to communicate and cooperate with us.”