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Federal public defender refuses Hilo man’s scam case


HILO » The Federal Public Defender’s office in Honolulu has turned down a Hilo man’s wire fraud case because of budget cuts.

Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports this is the first case the office turned down because of federal budget constraints known as sequestration.

First Assistant Federal Defender Alexander Silvert says in a motion filed in court this week that his office doesn’t have the resources to defend Justin Wade Smith. The 32-year-old Hilo man is accused of scamming investors of more than $1 million.

Silvert says his office has notified the court they’ll be refusing to take certain cases.

A judge will appoint a private attorney for Smith, at the expense of taxpayers. He is scheduled for trial next month on 39 counts of wire fraud. He’s being held without bail.

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