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Prosecutors ready to retry Cali drug cases

After a five-month trial that decided little, federal prosecutors will try to convince a second jury that two lawyers committed crimes for the Cali cocaine cartel.

Next time around, one of the lawyers, William Moran, may represent himself.

As the first trial of Moran, 58, and Michael Abbell, 56, ended Wednesday with the judge declaring a mistrial on four of five charges, prosecutors looked ahead to a retrial early next year.

Moran and Abbell were acquitted of racketeering and the jury deadlocked on conspiracy, drug and money-laundering charges.

"We are ready to go forward to retry the counts the jury was hung on," Assistant U.S. Attorney William Pearson told U.S. District Judge William Hoeveler.

But Moran's defense team, Albert Krieger and Martin Weinberg, will not be ready. Krieger asked Hoeveler to let him and Weinberg withdraw from the case, saying they cannot represent Moran in a second trial.

Weinberg wants to be reunited with his 11-year-old son in Boston, Krieger said, and "I need to put my life back in order."

Moran said he may not be able to afford replacements.

"I simply don't know where the money is going to come from," he told Hoeveler. "I don't have the funding that my adversaries have."

Krieger tried to convince the judge to let him have, as part of his fee, $25,000 from funds Moran and his family put up to guarantee a $250,000 personal surety bond. There's no reason to think Moran will jump bail, Krieger said.

But Hoeveler would not change the bond. "You'll have to wait a bit longer," he told Krieger.

Howard and Scott Srebnick, attorneys for Abbell of Bethesda, Md., did not ask to withdraw.

As he left the federal courthouse Wednesday, Abbell said he will persevere in his defense. "I consider myself not guilty."

The government presented 60 witnesses to portray a sophisticated Colombian organization responsible for shipping hundreds of thousands of tons of cocaine into the United States.

Prosecutors said Moran and Abbell, a former top Justice Department extradition official, exceeded their role as attorneys for cartel members by delivering bribes and threats and by preparing false affidavits to shield its leaders, Miguel and Gilberto Rodriguez-Orejuela. The brothers are in prison in Colombia.

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