By Bob Uphues
On April 30, the attorneys who have been representing Steven Mandell, who was convicted in February of plotting to kidnap, torture extort and kill a Riverside businessman, will withdraw their services to him.
On April 21, attorneys Keith Spielfogel and Robert Loeb submitted a motion asking Judge Amy St. Eve to allow them to withdraw as Mandell's counsel, citing "conflict" between the two parties.
That conflict arose after Mandell's was convicted by a jury on Feb. 21. Since being convicted, Mandell's attorneys have twice moved to have Mandell acquitted or re-tried, saying the government had not proven its case.
However, Mandell has personally filed motions on his own, including an April 10 motion "concerning governmental misconduct and ineffective assistance of counsel."
In their motion to withdraw, Spielfogel and Loeb state they did not see the April 10 motion before it was filed. On April 14, Mandell and his attorneys met to revise the motion, which was submitted under seal on April 21.
On that same day, the attorneys filed their motion to withdraw. They note in that motion: "As stated in open court, and as is seen in the motion itself, it contains allegations that counsels were ineffective in their representation of Mr. Mandell." As such, the motion "creates a conflict between him and his attorneys."
Mandell has also sent letters from his jail cell in the solitary confinement wing of the Metropolitan Correctional Center to both Judge St. Eve, another judge and other law enforcement agencies.
In his April 4 letter to Judge St. Eve, Mandell pleaded for her to order prison officials to release him from solitary confinement, claiming the FBI had a vendetta against him and that he had never harmed anyone in his life.
Judge St. Eve reportedly called the letter inappropriate.
Mandell has much experience fighting serious convictions in the past. He previously was convicted of murder and sentenced to death, but the conviction was overturned on appeal. He was also convicted of kidnapping and sentenced to life in prison, but that ruling was also vacated on appeal.
He faces a sentence of up to life in prison with the most recent conviction. He is scheduled to be sentenced in June.