- The Washington Times - Monday, July 21, 2003

Attorneys for sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo said yesterday the federal government should help pay for their client’s defense since prosecutors are getting federal assistance.

In a motion filed yesterday, Mr. Malvo’s attorneys asked Fairfax County Circuit Judge Jane Marum Roush to order prosecutors to divulge an accounting of all expenditures in their investigation to find out if the defense should get a similar boost in funding.

“It is unusual, but I’m not aware of any Virginia capital case in the past where the federal government has funded or participated in the funding of the prosecution,” said Craig S. Cooley, one of Mr. Malvo’s attorneys. “You don’t overfund the prosecution and then give nothing for the defense.”

Judge Roush has limited some defense requests for expert witnesses and investigators, citing the cost of such experts.

Mr. Cooley based his request on a report published in The Washington Post where Prince William County prosecutors who are preparing a case against fellow suspect John Allen Muhammad were quoted as saying they applied for $200,000 in federal aid for their trial.

Mr. Cooley said the prosecution costs in Mr. Muhammad’s trial could reach as high as $1.5 million.

So far, Mr. Malvo’s defense team has filed for $293,908 in fees and expenses, according to the Supreme Court of Virginia, which processes the expenses of court-appointed lawyers. Mr. Muhammad’s attorneys have filed for $120,780 in fees and expenses, according to the Associated Press.

In court papers, Mr. Cooley said federal funds would pay for things that Virginia courts don’t usually cover such as a mitigation expert who prepares background reports on a defendant and the transportation and lodging costs for witnesses.

Earlier this month, Judge Roush moved Mr. Malvo’s trial to Chesapeake, Va., a city 200 miles from the Washington area. Mr. Malvo’s attorneys said transportation and lodging costs could be very high since it will involve witnesses traveling there from around the country and the Caribbean.

“There are a number of areas where the cost is going to be substantial to both sides,” Mr. Cooley said.

Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Access to the prosecution’s expenditures would allow Mr. Malvo’s attorneys to ask a federal judge to order the federal government help pay for Mr. Malvo’s defense.

“It may well be that the federal government is subsidizing the prosecutions of these two defendants, and the defense attorneys are having to fight these little budget battles,” said Joseph Bowman, a lawyer who has defended several capital-murder trials in Northern Virginia.

Mr. Bowman said he didn’t think the federal government would pay for Mr. Malvo’s defense, but said, “I can’t call it hare-brained either.

“It would be a huge deal if the government agreed to pay for Mr. Malvo’s defense,” he said.

Mr. Malvo, 18, and Mr. Muhammad, 42, have been linked to last October’s string of random shootings that left 10 persons dead and three others injured in the Washington area.

Mr. Malvo is being tried in the Oct. 14 shooting of FBI analyst Linda Franklin, 47, outside a Home Depot in Falls Church. His trial is expected to begin Nov. 10.

Both could face the death penalty if convicted.

Last week, Mr. Muhammad’s trial was moved to Virginia Beach, which is adjacent to Chesapeake. He is being tried in the Oct. 9 shooting death of Dean Harold Meyers, 53, at a gas station in Manassas. His trial is scheduled to start Oct. 14.

Both suspects have pretrial hearings scheduled for Thursday.

Mr. Malvo’s attorneys will seek to obtain exculpatory evidence they say will prove Mr. Malvo was “under the spell” of Mr. Muhammad.

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