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A public defender who was punched in the face by his client in a death penalty murder trial on Monday was allowed to withdraw from the case this week, but his co-counsel was ordered to continue the trial and was jailed for civil contempt when she refused to do so. A Superior Court judge later stayed the contempt order and released the lawyer, but the stay was scheduled to expire midweek, when she must report back to the trial, potentially to be jailed once again. The lawyer who was punched, Fred R. Goodman of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, asked to withdraw because he is too angry with the defendant, Malik el-Shabazz, 20, who is on trial in the rape and slaying of a 6-year-old girl. Goodman was not seriously injured, and court officers tackled el-Shabazz and then led him quickly from the courtroom at Philadelphia’s Criminal Justice Center. Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Jane Cutler Greenspan immediately declared a recess and sent jurors home. Greenspan later granted Goodman’s motion to withdraw from the case but ordered that his co-counsel, Andrea Konow, continue to defend el-Shabazz. But Konow told the judge that she, too, was unable to continue to represent el-Shabazz because she is now afraid of him. Greenspan said el-Shabazz would remain handcuffed and shackled throughout the trial and ordered Konow to continue, but Konow refused and insisted that the judge should declare a mistrial. Greenspan then declared Konow in contempt of court. The trial was recessed, and the judge held a contempt hearing in which Konow was represented by attorney Bradley S. Bridge, also of the Defender Association. Shortly before noon Tuesday, Konow was jailed for civil contempt but was told by Greenspan that she held the keys to her cell in her own hand and would be released as soon as she agreed to continue the trial. Chief Defender Ellen Greenlee said she attended the contempt hearing and believes that Greenspan should have granted the defense motion for a mistrial. Greenlee said that Goodman was the lead lawyer handling the guilt phase of the trial and that Konow had prepared to take the lead in the penalty phase if el-Shabazz is convicted of first-degree murder. As a result, Greenlee said, Konow was not prepared to take over the case. El-Shabazz is accused of murdering Destiny Wright during a girls’ slumber party at his sister’s home in Philadelphia in 2002. During the trial, jurors were shown a police videotape in which el-Shabazz described in great detail how he smothered the girl and then lugged her body more than a mile to a vacant lot. Jurors on Monday also saw autopsy photographs of the girl’s body. Assistant District Attorney Jodi Lobel had just rested her case Monday afternoon, and both teams of lawyers were returning to their seats after a brief, private conference with the judge, when el-Shabazz swung at Goodman, authorities said. It was el-Shabazz’s second outburst of the trial. On the day of opening statements, el-Shabazz began yelling when Goodman told jurors that his client had, in fact, committed the assault. “There is no question who did this,” Goodman said. “The only thing that is at issue is the difference between first-degree murder and second-degree murder.” “And my innocence! I’m innocent!” el-Shabazz said. “That’s what the DA and my lawyers won’t tell you.” A finding of second-degree murder would spare el-Shabazz the death penalty. Greenlee said Bridge had succeeded in securing Konow’s release from jail by appealing to the Superior Court. But the release was only temporary, Greenlee said, because Superior Court Judge Richard Klein’s order simply stayed Greenspan’s contempt order until Wednesday. Greenlee said that her office is also pursuing an emergency appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court but that the two defense lawyers — Goodman and Konow — are also considering whether to get back into the case. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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