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Saddam's top lawyer quits


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Hussein's top attorney quits, criticizes Americans on team


By Jamal Halaby


Associated Press


AMMAN, Jordan - Saddam Hussein's chief attorney said yesterday that he had quit the former Iraqi ruler's legal team and that some of the team's American members were trying to run the defense and soft-pedal the U.S. occupation of the country.


Ziad al-Khasawneh, a Jordanian, also said that Hussein's eldest daughter, Raghad, favored the Americans and non-Arabs on the defense team "because she thinks they will win the case and free her father."


Khasawneh said he resigned Tuesday in a telephone call to Hussein's wife, Sajida, who is believed to be in Yemen.


"I told her I was resigning because some American lawyers in the defense team want to take control of it and isolate their Arab counterparts," said Khasawneh, an Arab nationalist who has often expressed support for Iraqi resistance.


The Americans on the team include former Attorney General Ramsey Clark.


Khasawneh said Clark and Curtis Doebbler, another American lawyer helping defend Hussein, "have often asked me to refrain from criticizing the American occupation of Iraq and the U.S.-backed Iraqi government."


Hussein's legal team includes 1,500 volunteers and at least 22 lead lawyers who come from several countries, including the United States, France, Jordan, Iraq and Libya. No date has been set for the trial of Hussein, who was captured by U.S. troops in December 2003.


Raghad Hussein rejected the suggestion that she was trying to isolate the Arab lawyers on the team. There "are no differences between Arab and foreign lawyers," she said in a statement. Khasawneh's resignation was "unfortunate," she said, because he "provided significant contribution" to the legal team.



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