As agents wait in hallway to testify about arrest of Russian, judge lets him fires his lawyers

Associated Press

A federal judge in Seattle says an alleged master hacker and notorious credit card thief from Russia can fire his lawyers.

The decision Wednesday came minutes before the start of a two-day hearing to decide whether Roman Seleznev's arrest in the Maldives was legal.

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Five U.S. agents who plan to testify about the 2014 arrest waited outside a closed courtroom while Seleznev made his case for dismissing his federal public defenders.

The judge called everyone back in and announced that two new lawyers will be appointed and the agents will be heard at a later hearing. No reason was given for Seleznev's request.

Seleznev's lawyers have said his arrest was illegal and the 40-count indictment against him should be dismissed. The government says the agents acted appropriately.