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Defense lawyers want out of terror case

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BOISE — Lawyers for an Uzbek national facing federal terrorism-related charges in Idaho and Utah want a judge to let them withdraw from the case, saying federal budget cuts have left their office with limited resources.

Fazliddin Kurbanov, 30, of Boise, has pleaded not guilty to charges that authorities say involve teaching people to build bombs to target public transportation.

In a motion late Monday, court-appointed attorneys Richard Rubin and Thomas Monaghan of Federal Defenders Services of Idaho sought the immediate appointment of a substitute counsel.

Rubin told The Associated Press on Tuesday that federal budget cuts known as sequestration have reduced the budget of his office by 10 percent for the current fiscal year, and as much as an additional 14 percent next year.

"It would be more detrimental to the client to have us continue on to a certain point, totally run out of resources, and then come into the court saying we just can't go any further, " Rubin said.

In all, the federal court system, including public defenders, must absorb about $350 million in cuts through the end of the fiscal year in September.

U.S. judiciary administrators last month asked for supplemental funding of $41 million for defenders services, to help avert what they called an unprecedented crisis.

Representing Kurbanov, who was arrested May 17, in the potentially long and costly case would sap funding necessary to defend other clients, Rubin said.

Instead, Rubin has suggested that U.S. District Judge Mikel Williams appoint another defense lawyer from a separate pool of attorneys who also get money from Congress to take on the case at $125 per hour.

In Utah, Kurbanov is charged with teaching others how to make a weapon of mass destruction. The lessons included how-to shopping trips in preparation for bombing a public transportation facility.