Murder defendant gets new attorney

EL CENTRO, Calif. -

The man accused in the murder of El Centro attorney Anne Marie Zimmerman was granted a new attorney and a Spanish translator on Friday in a pre-trial hearing at El Centro Superior Court.

A judge said defendant Ioan Laurint may have lost confidence in his public defender and attorney-client relations seem to have broken down.

The judge said he will appoint a Spanish-speaking attorney to take over the case. San Diego-based attorney Donald Levine was mentioned as a possible option. He also approved a Spanish translator for Laurint.

Laurint’s current public defender said the language issue may also affect the video interviews previously made of Laurint regarding the alleged crime. The interviews were made in English without a Spanish translator present. The judge said he’ll review the tapes and make a ruling on whether they’re admissible in trial or not.

The judge said the language issue is a critical one for the client to understand the trial proceedings and be properly represented.

Laurint is scheduled back in court next week when his new attorney will be confirmed and appointed.

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