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Death Row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal on Tuesday asked a federal judge to order his lawyers to withdraw from his case, saying he has recently learned that one of them has a book deal to sell his “inside account” of working on the case. In a three-page handwritten motion, Abu-Jamal said he recently learned that attorney Dan Williams of New York is “in the late processes of publishing a book.” As a result, Abu-Jamal says, Williams now suffers from a conflict of interest that requires that both he and lead attorney Leonard Weinglass of Rabinowitz Boudin Standard Krinsky & Lieberman withdraw. Under Rule 1.8(d) of the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct, a lawyer is prohibited from making or negotiating a literary agreement based on the information the lawyer acquired through representing a client, Abu-Jamal said in the motion. Williams’ conduct, he says, “has created a clear, undeniable conflict of interest” and “constitutes a breach of client loyalty.” In a handwritten brief attached to the motion, Abu-Jamal cited the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1984 decision in Strickland v. Washington for the proposition that such a breach of client loyalty compels the lawyer’s disqualification. Abu-Jamal, who was sentenced to death for the murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner, asked that U.S. District Judge William H. Yohn Jr. grant him a “reasonable period” to hire new lawyers. In his federal habeas corpus petition, Abu-Jamal claims that his trial before Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Albert F. Sabo was riddled with unfairness. Judge Yohn has not yet scheduled a hearing on Abu-Jamal’s petition. Neither Williams nor Weinglass could be reached for comment Tuesday.

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