2 lawyers representing ex-wife of slain NBA player withdraw - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

2 lawyers representing ex-wife of slain NBA player withdraw

By ADRIAN SAINZ
Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Two lawyers who were representing the ex-wife of slain former NBA player Lorenzen Wright withdrew from the case Wednesday, citing a deteriorating relationship with their high-profile client.

Shelby County Criminal Court Judge Lee Coffee granted a motion from Steve Farese Jr. and Blake Ballin for their removal from the case of Sherra Wright. She is charged with murder in the slaying of Lorenzen Wright, whose body was found in July 2010 riddled with bullet wounds in a swampy field in suburban Memphis. He was missing for 10 days before his body was found.

Farese told reporters that the lawyers' relationship with Sherra Wright had deteriorated to the point where they could no longer effectively represent her.

"We owed an ethical duty to her to file a motion to withdraw," Farese said.

The judge appointed a new defense attorney, Juni Ganguli, to represent her. Coffee told her that she must cooperate with her new lawyer. Ganguli said he was notified by the judge about joining the case about a half hour before Wednesday's hearing and he expects to get results of Farese's and Ballin's investigation into the charges.

"It's a big case, and I'm excited," Ganguli said. "It will be fun. It will be a lot of work."

Wright told the judge that she would speak with her family to see if they can hire a different attorney. Coffee said he would remove Ganguli from the case if she is able to hire her own lawyer.

Sherra Wright received $1 million from her ex-husband's life insurance policy. She was arrested in December in California, where she had lived for three years after moving away from Memphis.

She is accused of conspiring with Billy Ray Turner to kill her ex-husband. Both have pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder charges.

Lorenzen Wright played for 13 seasons as a forward and center in the NBA, including several for the Grizzlies in Memphis, where he was born and raised.

Coffee ordered Sherra Wright held on a $20 million bond in May. During the bond hearing, the judge said his decision to assign such a high bond was partly driven by her bad behavior while being held at a women's jail. She was accused of taking off her clothes, flooding her jail cell and verbally insulting and threatening guards with language Coffee called abusive and offensive.

It was not immediately clear if the alleged bad behavior was the reason for the lawyers' withdrawal. Farese said ethics rules keep him and Ballin from discussing why exactly they stepped down from the case, which has drawn national attention and been featured on television programs.

"These relationships between attorneys and clients are no different than relationships in other areas of your life, whether it's intimate relationships or business partnerships," Ballin said outside the courtroom. "Sometimes they work out; sometimes they don't."

Prosecutor Paul Hagerman said the changing of defense lawyers could slow down the case as it heads for trial. A date has not been set, and the judge has said a trial may not take place until next year.

"I'm sure there will be more twists and turns," Hagerman said.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Entertainment newsMore>>

  • Astronaut drops in on Kraftwerk gig, plays duet from space

    Astronaut drops in on Kraftwerk gig, plays duet from space

    Saturday, July 21 2018 9:36 AM EDT2018-07-21 13:36:10 GMT
    Saturday, July 21 2018 9:39 AM EDT2018-07-21 13:39:15 GMT
    Kraftwerk fans can expect to hear some otherworldly tunes, but the German electronic music pioneers took it to another level at a gig in Stuttgart on Friday.More >>
    Kraftwerk fans can expect to hear some otherworldly tunes, but the German electronic music pioneers took it to another level at a gig in Stuttgart on Friday.More >>
  • Ticket mix-up put family on ill-fated Missouri tourist boat

    Ticket mix-up put family on ill-fated Missouri tourist boat

    Saturday, July 21 2018 12:18 AM EDT2018-07-21 04:18:54 GMT
    Saturday, July 21 2018 9:37 AM EDT2018-07-21 13:37:34 GMT
    (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel). People pray outside Ride the Ducks, an amphibious tour operator involved in a boating accident on Table Rock Lake, Friday, July 20, 2018 in Branson, Mo.(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel). People pray outside Ride the Ducks, an amphibious tour operator involved in a boating accident on Table Rock Lake, Friday, July 20, 2018 in Branson, Mo.

    More than half of the 17 people killed when a tourist boat sank on a Branson lake were members of the same Indiana family, and they likely wouldn't have been on the ill-fated trip but for a ticket mix-up.

    More >>

    More than half of the 17 people killed when a tourist boat sank on a Branson lake were members of the same Indiana family, and they likely wouldn't have been on the ill-fated trip but for a ticket mix-up.

    More >>
  • An excited, energetic Taylor Swift brings tour to MetLife

    An excited, energetic Taylor Swift brings tour to MetLife

    Saturday, July 21 2018 1:20 AM EDT2018-07-21 05:20:59 GMT
    Saturday, July 21 2018 9:36 AM EDT2018-07-21 13:36:40 GMT
    (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP). Singer Taylor Swift performs during her Reputation tour at MetLife Stadium on Friday, July 20, 2018, in East Rutherford, N.J.(Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP). Singer Taylor Swift performs during her Reputation tour at MetLife Stadium on Friday, July 20, 2018, in East Rutherford, N.J.
    Taylor Swift brought her explosive Reputation Tour to the MetLife Stadium on Friday and will make history as the first female artist to play three consecutive shows at the venue when she performs Saturday and Sunday.More >>
    Taylor Swift brought her explosive Reputation Tour to the MetLife Stadium on Friday and will make history as the first female artist to play three consecutive shows at the venue when she performs Saturday and Sunday.More >>
Powered by Frankly