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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Suddenly, Masmari Has a New Private Lawyer

Posted by on Tue, Feb 18, 2014 at 4:48 PM

Just hours after an arraignment hearing this morning in the case of a gay nightclub arson, the suspect, Musab Masmari, has dropped his public defender and has hired private counsel. Masmari will now be represented by Jeff Cohen.

According to Masmari's former lawyer, public defender Harold Palmer, Mr. Cohen was hired by Masmari's family. I reached out to Mr. Cohen to find out the reason for the switch, and he declined to comment, saying he hadn't even looked at the case yet and my questions were "premature."

This change seems unexpected, and the timing is interesting considering Masmari just had an arraignment a few hours ago. (The court scheduled the next court appearance for March 5 in association with first-degree arson charges for allegedly setting Neighbours nightclub on fire on New Year's Eve.) Mr. Cohen has been practicing law in Washington State since 1981. He specializes in serious felonies and a cursory online search doesn't produce a record of other high-profile clients like Masmari, though he has defended accused sex offenders.


Comments (16) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Hey Slog, if he was a Christian, you’d be all over it like cheese on a Big Mac. But a Mohammedan and all i hear are the crickets…what gives?
Posted by Biggles on February 18, 2014 at 5:22 PM · Report this
The public defender's name is Hal Palmer, not Harold.
Posted by If the shoe fits on February 18, 2014 at 5:34 PM · Report this
Thanks for the... news(?)
Posted by MRM on February 18, 2014 at 5:40 PM · Report this
fletc3her 4
Why is it unexpected for him to hire a private lawyer? He's facing serious charges.
Posted by fletc3her on February 18, 2014 at 5:50 PM · Report this
We do not need updates on every step of the proceedings. Are you going to write updates for every motion that is filed? This man has not yet been convicted, and a jury has not even been selected as of yet. I say give it a rest until there is actual news to report. Until then, this dude is just another person charged with a crime, and he does not deserve to be tried in the media before he gets his day in court.
Posted by ourkind on February 18, 2014 at 7:09 PM · Report this
long-time reader 6
@1, they are all over it, you dumb fuck. You need to learn to pick your battles.
Posted by long-time reader on February 18, 2014 at 7:20 PM · Report this
I have a feeling that this reporter does not have even a basic understanding of how court proceedings work. Why then is she "covering" this case?
Posted by DOUG. on February 18, 2014 at 7:24 PM · Report this
Everybody needs representation.
Posted by wxPDX on February 18, 2014 at 7:34 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 9
Jewish attorney defends Muslim arsonist! There is hope for peace on Earth!
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on February 18, 2014 at 8:46 PM · Report this
Dr. Z 10
As I've said a number of times now, there's more to this case than meets the eye.
Posted by Dr. Z on February 18, 2014 at 8:53 PM · Report this
@10 Yeah I agree. There are definately some pieces missing. Time to sit back relax and wait as it plays out. Jumping to conclusions and or speculating at this point is unwise.
Posted by Machiavelli was framed on February 18, 2014 at 9:55 PM · Report this
This is not exactly news, since many defendants don't immediately hire defense attorneys. Jeff's a good attorney, and the fact that he's defended sex offenders has absolutely no relevance to this case, since this guy isn't being charged with sex abuse. @7's right.
Posted by sarah70 on February 18, 2014 at 11:05 PM · Report this
@4 because, presumably, he can't afford it on his own thus originally having a public pretender
Posted by ishf on February 19, 2014 at 12:15 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 14
1 mental illness defense, stat.
Posted by Max Solomon on February 19, 2014 at 7:40 AM · Report this
Still learning how to report?
"This change seems unexpected, and the timing is interesting considering Masmari just had an arraignment a few hours ago."
It's anything but unexpected or ill-timed - court-apointees regularly rep defendants at arraignments, and attorneys are frequently thereafter hired. Amid your guesswork, your lack of court knowledge, and useless information about an attorney you're judging by his clients, you missed a bigger story about the suspect and his crime (one you'll actually have to do some reporting to uncover).
Posted by JPierce on February 19, 2014 at 7:53 AM · Report this
Just to drive home the point that was made more eloquently by previous commentators, there is nothing unexpected, or interesting, about this. This happens all the time. In fact, it would be more interesting if Masmari KEPT a public defender, given the high profile and serious nature of the allegations. Jeff Cohen is a well-respected attorney and the implication that his previous clients are a reflection on his character or his ability to represent Masmari is ignorant and frankly absurd.
Posted by Oast on February 19, 2014 at 9:18 AM · Report this

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