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Judge Approves Kopp's Request for New Attorney

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – James Kopp's request for a new attorney has been granted. Erie County Court Judge Michael D'Amico will allow defense attorney Bruce Barket to represent Kopp for the murder of Dr. Barnett Slepian.

Barket replaces well-known defense attorney Paul Cambria who asked to be removed from the case.

There is speculation Cambria did not want the trial to turn into a forum on the abortion issue. But Barket says it's a subject that can't be ignored.

"To say this case is not about abortion is a little bit like ignoring a large pink elephant in the room," Barket said. "It's foolish to try. It's insincere in some ways. This case is obviously about abortion. We'll have to deal with that."

Prosecutor Joseph Maruzak says he will focus on the facts of proving it was an "intentional murder," regardless of the motivation.

Pre-trial motions resume December 2nd. Kopp's state murder trial is set to begin February 3rd.