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Dearborn Mosque Plot Suspect Requests New Lawyer

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Roger Stockham in court (WWJ Photo/Florence Walton).

Roger Stockham in court (WWJ Photo/Florence Walton).

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A hearing to determine whether there’s probable cause to send a California man to trial on charges of plotting to blow up the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn has been adjourned to give him time to confer with his new lawyer.

Speaking before Dearborn District Court Judge Mark Somers, Friday, 63-year old  Roger Stockham said his court-appointed council was “a Shiite” and a “patron of the mosque” he is accused of planning to attack, and requested that a new defense attorney be assigned to his case.

Stockham spoke to the judge at what was scheduled to be his preliminary examination on charges of making a false report or threat of terrorism and one count of possessing explosives with an unlawful intent.

Defense attorney Mark Haidar, who wasn’t present for the hearing, told the Associated Press earlier this week that he disclosed his Muslim faith to Stockham during their initial meeting at the jail.

Judge Somers said he recognized that Stockham was not satisfied with his legal representation and ordered him to a holding area while he saw about getting him a new attorney.

“Let’s make sure we get off on the right foot,” the judge said.

Somers later Friday appointed Livonia-based criminal defense attorney Matthew Evans to replace Haidar.

Stockham, who was represented at Friday’s hearing by a fill-in attorney, was arrested Jan. 24 driving near Dearborn’s Islamic Center of America. Police said he had more than two dozen powerful fireworks in his car.

Friday, Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Kal Najar talked to reporters about the charges.

“There’s two counts that we’re going forward on — the terrorism count and the possession of explosives counts. That’s what he’s charged with, that’s what we’re going forward on,” he said.

Stockham, an Imperial Beach, Calif. resident, has had several legal run-ins dating back to the 1970s. He has twice been committed for psychiatric treatment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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