DETROIT (WWJ) – During a lengthy and contentious debate, Detroit Judge Kenneth King rejected attorney David Griem’s request to be removed from the Bob Bashara case.
King said Griem didn’t have cause to get out of the case after Griem refused to elaborate on the “breakdown” with his client. King suggested that Bashara hire a second — or even third attorney — to work with Griem to keep the case moving.
The judge said he was afraid a change in representation would unnecessarily delay the case. He added it wasn’t in Bashara’s best interest to change attorneys at this point. Griem argued it wouldn’t be fair for him to represent Bashara at an upcoming preliminary examination and then switch attorneys before trial.
“The point is your honor, I look at the preliminary examination as the foundation for trial,” Griem said. “I have things I do that other attorneys wouldn’t do and vice versa.”
King wasn’t convinced.
A handcuffed and disheveled Bashara said a few words during the hearing when the judge asked if he had the capability to hire another attorney. “Yes,” he said, adding, “I think I do.” He later argued with the judge about releasing Griem, saying he wants new representation.
“He has become a little less effective than I would have hoped he could be,” Bashara told the judge. “He’s a very accomplished attorney, but I feel that it’s important that I get the best possible representation given the circumstances.”
Griem said Bashara had new attorney interviews already set up for Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.
At the request of Wayne County prosecutors, another hearing was for Friday to see if Griem violated a court order in disclosing certain material connected to the case to a member of Bashara’s family.
In a statement sent to WWJ Newsradio 950 Wednesday, Griem cited an “irreparable breakdown” in the relationship with his client. Griem said it would “serve no useful purpose” to reveal the reasons behind his withdrawal, saying it would only add to “the media feeding frenzy” that will make it difficult for Bashara to get a fair trial.
The judge said during Thursday’s hearing that Griem, who’s held several press events and given unusual statements, shouldn’t focus on the media.
Bashara is charged with trying to have his former handyman Joe Gentz killed after Gentz admitted to police he murdered Bashara’s wife Jane — allegedly at her husband’s behest.
The body of Jane Bashara, a marketing executive and mother of two, was found in the back of her Mercedes-Benz SUV parked in an alley at Pinewood and Annott in Detroit on Jan. 25.
Griem has withdrawn from a high-profile murder case before. He dropped defendant Stephen Grant before the Macomb County man, in 2007, was convicted of second-degree murder for killing and dismembering his wife, Tara.
So, which side wants to ditch the other in this case? Griem said the decision to part was mutual, though Bashara said in court he was worried about Griem’s reputation.
“I don’t want to fire him in open court,” Bashara added.