Brendt Christensen defense attorneys ask to be taken off of case
URBANA, Ill. (WCCU) —
Story updated Friday, September 9 at 11:00 p.m.
The defense attorneys of accused kidnapper Brendt Christensen asked to be removed from the case.
Christensen hired the services of Bruno Law Offices shortly after his June 30 arrest in connection to missing University of Illinois visiting scholar Yingying Zhang.
On Friday, Tom, Anthony and Evan Bruno jointly filed a motion to withdraw as counsel.
In the document, the attorneys state that Christensen and his family would be unable to pay for the possibility of a death penalty defense.
As of now, Christensen only faces federal kidnapping charges. However, during a pretrial hearing on Aug. 28, federal prosecutors suggested they may seek additional charges.
The Brunos presume these additional charges will include the prospect of capital punishment.
According to the motion, the Brunos are asking that Christensen be given a court-appointed attorney. They said Christensen agrees with this decision.
If the Bruno’s request is granted, they have agreed to provide advice and consultation to Christensen’s new attorney pro bono.
Bruno Law Offices declined further comment as this motion is pending.
The request will go before District Court Judge Colin Bruce on Friday at 10:30 a.m.
The defense attorneys for Brendt Christensen are asking to be taken off of his case. Christensen is accused of kidnapping visiting U of I scholar, Yingying Zhang.
Zhang is still missing and her family is staying in east central Illinois until she is found.
We reached out to the defense attorneys for a statement and received the following response:
"Yes, we filed a Motion for Leave to Withdraw last week.
A copy of that motion is publicly available on PACER. It speaks for itself, and because it is a pending motion, we have no additional comment at this time."