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LAWRENCE COUNTY Defendant confuses lawyers



Published: Fri, August 2, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The judge suggested setting up a conference call to ask the defendant what he wants to do.

By LAURE CIOFFI

VINDICATOR NEW CASTLE BUREAU

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Two attorneys representing a man who was deported to Canada on drug charges say they aren't sure what he wants to do.

Eddie Fawzi Haddad, also known as Atallah George Haddad, formerly of Neshannock Township, had asked to withdraw a guilty plea he made in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court.

Haddad, who was not present at a hearing Thursday in common pleas court, might have changed his mind, though.

Two attorneys representing Haddad say they get conflicting information from him.

"Mr. Haddad seems to have a different answer depending on who he is talking to," said attorney G. William Bills of Pittsburgh.

Bills filed papers asking that the plea be withdrawn.

Haddad, a Jordanian national, was sentenced to 10 years' county probation and deported to Canada after pleading guilty in January to delivery of a controlled substance.

Circumstances

Haddad contends the attorney who represented him at that time advised him that he would be convicted at trial because of the attitude of prospective jurors against Arabs after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Haddad also contends in court documents that his attorney, Carmen Lamancusa of New Castle, had a conflict of interest because he also represented Haddad's brother, Issa.

Issa Haddad was convicted at trial of two counts of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, two counts of possession of a controlled substance, one count of delivery of a controlled substance and three counts of criminal conspiracy in the sale of 22 OxyContin pills to a police informant Nov. 12-13, 2000. He was sentenced to five to 10 years in state prison.

Prosecutors said the charges against both brothers relate to sales at their business, The Cruise-In Food Mart on East Washington Street.

Lamancusa said Haddad told him Wednesday he didn't want to withdraw his guilty plea.

Common Pleas Court Judge Ralph Pratt suggested they set up a conference call with Haddad to determine what he wants to do.

That conference call is expected to take place sometime in the next few weeks.




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