Japanese Guru Rehires Lawyer


The murder trial of the guru accused of masterminding the deadly Tokyo subway gas attack was back on track Friday when the cult leader reappointed the lawyer he fired just two days earlier.

Aum Supreme Truth leader Shoko Asahara, who faces hanging if found guilty of ordering the March 20 attack--which killed 12 people and sickened 5,500--had fired his lawyer on the eve of his trial Wednesday, forcing the Tokyo district court to call off the proceedings.

Then, with Japan still puzzling over his motives, Asahara reinstated lawyer Shoji Yokoyama on Friday. Court officials said he made the move soon after the presiding judge ordered the selection of a separate, court-appointed lawyer to minimize disruption of the case.

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