Hunger strike hinders US murder trial plans
WASHINGTON (AP) - The already-bizarre criminal case of a slain German socialite and journalist has been brought to a virtual standstill by her husband's refusal to eat, which has left the defendant unable to sit or stand on his own and at risk of death.
It's the latest twist in the case against Mr Albrecht Muth, a fellow German expatriate whose behaviour has ranged from odd to obstructive since he was charged with the killing. Mr Muth, nearly a half-century younger than his late wife, has argued unsuccessfully for the right to wear what he said was an Iraqi military uniform in court. He fired his public defenders - only to have them reappointed after he was deemed too physically weak to act as his own lawyer. He told the judge he'd follow his own rules and he's name-dropped Jesus, Mr David Petraeus and others in court proceedings.
Mr Muth's fasting prompted a judge to indefinitely postpone the trial, scheduled to start this Monday, March 25, after a doctor said Mr Muth was too weak to be brought to court and prosecutors and defence lawyers said it wasn't feasible for him to participate remotely from his hospital bed.
Frustrated prosecutors say Mr Muth, 48, is orchestrating his own unavailability and thwarting their efforts to hold him accountable in the August 2011 slaying, and an exasperated judge says the case was in "limbo status" until at least next month.