Thursday, January 31, 2008

Judge grants new attorneys, trial date for McGee case

A Milwaukee Circuit Court judge granted indicted Milwaukee Ald. Michael McGee Jr.'s request for a new defense team and set a new trial date today in his state case.

The attorney of record for McGee's defense will be Larraine McNamara-McGraw, a former Milwaukee alderwoman and 2006 candidate for district attorney. She is joined by Texas lawyer and former federal prosecutor Larry Jarrett, who appeared to be taking the lead in the defense during today's hearing.

McGee faces a mix of felony and misdemeanor state charges for an alleged beating conspiracy and election violations. He also faces federal charges of bribery and extortion.

Because of the change in defense counsel, Judge Dennis P. Moroney set a new trial date for May 19. The original date was March 3.

McGee and attorney Glenn Givens had attempted twice before to sever their relationship. Givens said he was "pleased" and "very relieved" to be off of the case.

Givens said he only wanted to assist McGee in the beginning until he could find new counsel and that it was never his intention to be the attorney of record on the case. He described the McGee case as time consuming and said he intends to concentrate on rebuilding his practice.

With McGee's original trial date set between the Feb. 19 primary and the April 1 general election, there was the possibility he could have made it through the primary only to become ineligible for the general if he was found guilty of a felony.

After the hearing Jarrett refused to answer questions by reporters asking if the change in counsel was intended as a stall tactic.

"We will try the case. We will do it effectively. We will give McGee his day in court," Jarrett said.

McNamara-McGraw would not comment.

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