Robert Bashara waived his right to a speedy trial Tuesday. (David Coates / The Detroit News)
Detroit— Robert Bashara got what he wanted Tuesday — and more.
After the Grosse Pointe Park businessman was charged in April with first-degree murder, for allegedly hiring his handyman to kill his wife, Jane, Bashara wanted to retain Detroit attorney David Cripps. But the state froze his assets, and Mark Procida from the Public Defender’s Office was appointed.
But Wayne Circuit Judge Vonda Evans on Tuesday removed Procida from the case and appointed Cripps, his wife, Gabi Silver, and an unnamed third attorney to defend Bashara at taxpayer expense.
Evans also said she planned to name a clerk to help the attorneys wade through some 10,000 pages of evidence and numerous audio files. The judge said she’ll formalize the appointments on March 11.
Appointing new attorneys means the trial for Bashara, originally set for next month, could be delayed until July or August. In order to have Procida removed, Bashara had to waive his right to a speedy trial.
“I’m disappointed,” Procida said Tuesday. “We put a lot of time into this case, and I feel we could have provided Bob a fabulous defense. But if someone offered you three attorneys for your defense, wouldn’t you take it?”
During a hearing last month, Evans said she’s allowed to allocate up to $200,000 in taxpayer money for Bashara’s defense.
“I know he’d requested us,” Silver said Tuesday. “We’ll certainly do whatever we can for him, as we would for any client.”
Neither Cripps nor Silver are strangers to high-profile cases. Most recently, Cripps defended Chauncey Owens, who was found guilty last week of murdering Je’Rean Blake, whose slaying in May 2010 prompted the police raid that resulted in the death of 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones; while Silver defended hit man Vincent Smothers, who confessed to several murders-for-hire, including killing Rose Cobb, the wife of Detroit Police Sgt. David Cobb.
Jane Bashara was beaten and strangled at the couple’s Grosse Pointe Park home in January 2012. Her body was found in her vehicle, which was abandoned in Detroit.
Bashara’s handyman Joe Gentz is in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder. He said Robert Bashara threatened to kill him unless he killed Jane Bashara. Robert Bashara in media interviews repeatedly has denied any role.