Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Lawyers for an Uzbek national facing federal terrorism-related charges in Idaho and Utah want a judge to let them withdraw from the case, saying federal budget cuts have left their office with too few resources. Fazliddin Kurbanov, 30, of Boise, has pleaded not guilty to charges involving teaching people to build bombs. Court-appointed attorneys Richard Rubin and Thomas Monaghan, of Federal Defenders Services of Idaho, are seeking appointment of new counsel. Rubin told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Congress' across-the-board budget cuts known as “sequestration” have reduced his budget by 10 percent this fiscal year, and as much as an 14 percent next year. Rubin says Kurbanov would be better off getting another lawyer now, while the case is still in its initial phase. Kurbanov was arrested May 17.
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Lawyers: Budget cuts hinder defense of Uzbek man
By JOHN MILLER, Associated Press
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Lawyers for an Uzbek national facing federal terrorism-related charges in Idaho and Utah want a judge to let them withdraw from the case, saying federal budget cuts have left their office with limited resources.
Fazliddin Kurbanov, 30, of Boise, has pleaded not guilty to charges that authorities say involve teaching people to build bombs to target public transportation.
In a motion late Monday, court-appointed attorneys Richard Rubin and Thomas Monaghan of Federal Defenders Services of Idaho sought the immediate appointment of a substitute counsel.
Rubin told The Associated Press on Tuesday that federal budget cuts known as sequestration have reduced the budget of his office by 10 percent for the current fiscal year, and as much as an additional 14 percent next year.
“It would be more detrimental to the client to have us continue on to a certain point, totally run out of resources, and then come into the court saying we just can't go any further, ” Rubin said.
In all, the federal court system, including public defenders, must absorb about $350 million in cuts through the end of the fiscal year in September.
U.S. judiciary administrators last month asked for supplemental funding of $41 million for defenders services, to help avert what they called an unprecedented crisis.
Representing Kurbanov, who was arrested May 17, in the potentially long and costly case would sap funding necessary to defend other clients, Rubin said.
Instead, Rubin has suggested that U.S. District Judge Mikel Williams appoint another defense lawyer from a separate pool of attorneys who also get money from Congress to take on the case at $125 per hour.
Rubin said he must prioritize his lawyers' work to make sure they're meeting a mandate of handling about 75 percent of the federal cases in Idaho where defendants do not have their own counsel.
The cuts so far “have essentially eliminated our training program, devastated our expenditures for expert witness, and forced us to make the cuts in personnel and salaries or make the cuts through furloughs,” Rubin said. “We understand that 2014 is going to be worse.”
Kurbanov, a truck driver who came to Idaho in 2009 as a refugee from central Asia, is among those who can't afford his own attorney. Other than used cars, he listed few other assets to his name, according to court documents.
In Idaho, he's charged with providing material support and resources, including computer software and money, to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, a group designated by the U.S. government as a foreign terrorist organization.
Attorneys for the U.S. Department of Justice said Kurbanov had a hollow hand grenade, fuse and other materials that could be used as an explosive device.
In Utah, he's charged with teaching others how to make a weapon of mass destruction. The lessons included how-to shopping trips in preparation for bombing a public transportation facility, authorities said.
Prosecutors haven't said whether the target might have been foreign or domestic, though they say the threat was contained with his arrest.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.