PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - Lawyers for embattled U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, Sr. have had their motion to withdraw from the case denied by a judge.
Last week, lawyers defending Fattah on federal racketeering charges in Philadelphia asked the judge to let them quit the case.
The lawyers sought to withdraw because they haven't been paid by their client. In his ruling, Judge Harvey Bartle III wrote that he feared the replacement of Fattah's attorneys would cause a delay in the trial.
Kevin Mincey, Thomas Fitzpatrick, Riley Ross and Shabrei Parker are Fattah's lawyers.
“Counsel for Fattah seek to withdraw solely because Fattah has not kept his promise to pay their fees. We are always sympathetic to a lawyer when a client has not honored his financial obligations, particularly to a lawyer in a small firm or to a solo practitioner. We appreciate the financial burden counsel face here, although they did receive a substantial initial deposit," the judge wrote in the opinion.
"The conduct of Fattah in placing his counsel in their present situation seems particularly unfair as he has never represented to the court that he is impecunious or unable to obtain the necessary funds to pay them on time. On the other hand, it is important to reiterate that counsel, when they entered their appearances months ago, were fully cognizant of their professional obligation under Rule 44.1 of the Local Criminal Rules to continue their representation “until final disposition of the case in this Court” as well as the risk of non-payment of their fees and expenses. Only if counsel remain in this case can we insure that Fattah’s constitution."
Earlier in the week, the judge had implored the Congressman, who is seeking to run for reelection despite his federal indictment and is raising money for such a run, to get his priorities in order.