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Demjanjuk Fires Lead Attorney, Will Hire Israeli

United Press International

Retired U.S. auto worker John Demjanjuk fired his lead attorney today, raising new questions about the defense’s ability to present an effective case in his trial on charges of being Nazi death camp guard “Ivan the Terrible.”

The move ended weeks of speculation over New York attorney Mark O’Connor, whose bickering with two fellow defense lawyers over the leadership of the defense has played a prominent role in the 5-month-old trial.

Demjanjuk replaced O’Connor with Israeli lawyer Yoram Sheftel, who will lead the defense with the help of American attorney John Gill. The trial, which is in recess, resumes next Monday with Demjanjuk testifying.

Demjanjuk, 67, a former Cleveland resident, tried to fire O’Connor during a special court session last Wednesday but grew flustered under questioning from the judges and asked them to give him until Monday to decide.

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