DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – The Grosse Pointe Park man convicted of hiring a hit man to kill his wife was back in court Tuesday as his attorney argues for a new trial.

Bob Bashara, known as “Master Bob” because of his lifestyle of bondage and domination, wants his murder conviction and life sentence thrown out, claiming his constitutional rights were violated by an ineffective defense.

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“The case started bad and ended worse,” appellate lawyer Ronald Ambrose told Wayne County Judge Vonda Evans.

Bashara, 57, was convicted of coercing a handyman to strangle Jane Bashara at their Grosse Pointe Park home in 2012.

Bashara’s attorney asked former attorney Mike McCarthy why he didn’t question what happened to the clothes Jane Bashara was wearing the night she was killed and why didn’t he ask for the trial to be moved out of Detroit.

Ambrose said trial lawyers didn’t tell jurors that Jane Bashara didn’t care about her husband’s lifestyle. Bashara was a former Rotary Club president who hosted men and women at a sex dungeon at a bar called Hard Luck.

“The jury was never given the context of the marital relationship, the physical limitations of each party,” Ambrose said.

One of Bashara’s trial attorneys, McCarthy, told the judge that he didn’t introduce health information about the couple because it would have been irrelevant and inappropriate.

“I didn’t want to drag the good name of Jane Bashara into the mud,” McCarthy testified.

McCarthy said he didn’t put Bashara on the witness stand during the trial because past inconsistent statements would have harmed his credibility with jurors.

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Attorneys for Bashara claim that not enough evidence was presented during his trial–specifically, evidence that his slain wife, Jane, wasn’t upset about his bondage sex fetish.

Bashara’s mother-in-law, Lorraine Engelbrecht, doesn’t want her son-in-law to get a new trial:

“I don’t think he deserves it – he belongs where he is – it’s a given – what he did, I don’t think he deserves all this,” said Englebrecht.

“When he was on Dateline he said they had an open marriage and I called him a liar – I called him that day – I called it a double-life. My daughter would never lived had she known what he was doing. I’m sure of that, I’m positive.”

Ambrose tried to make the case that Gentz (the handyman, hitman convicted of murdering Jane Bashara) should have and could have been a useful witness for Bob Bashara in his trial.

“There was a plea agreement between him, Joseph Gentz, and the prosecution and he reneged on that plea … and prosecution did nothing about it,” said McCarthy.

Joe Gentz took the fifth. Under additional questioning, McCarthy said he didn’t ask to move the trial out of state, because the case received nationwide publicity.

“We talked about this case, ad nauseam, every aspect, every element, everything about this case, if Mr. Bashara didn’t want something or didn’t want to be somewhere he had a mouth and he knew how to use it,” said attorney Lillian Deallo.

The hearing continues Wednesday. Judge Evans set an October 14, court date to hear from six new witnesses.



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