AUBURN – The lawyer for a man who held a gun to his head in a police standoff on Valentine’s Day wants off the case because he may be called as a witness.
Thomas Goodwin filed a motion Thursday in Androscoggin County Superior Court to withdraw as the lawyer for Edward Fitzherbert, 62, of Poland.
Fitzherbert’s trial is scheduled for jury selection on Monday. He was supposed to appear in court for a trial on sex-related charges on Feb. 14 but instead led police on a slow-speed chase to St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Lewiston. There, he held police at bay for more than an hour, threatening suicide and holding a handgun to his head.
Goodwin talked to his client by phone that morning and was called to the hospital before Fitzherbert’s surrender.
Prosecutors expect to charge Fitzherbert in connection with the standoff and told Goodwin he’s likely to be called as a witness “to testify about nonprivileged communications” with his client and to describe his observations, Goodwin wrote in court papers.
Because the standoff and the original charges against Fitzherbert “have become intertwined,” Goodwin wrote that he believes he’s been placed in a situation where his continued representation of Fitzherbert represents a conflict of interest.
This marks the third time Fitzherbert’s case has been scheduled for trial. He was set to go to court last month but the case was postponed for a second time when Goodwin wasn’t available to appear in court.
His motion to withdraw from the case could further delay the case. Fitzherbert has asked that the trial be moved out of Androscoggin County due to pretrial publicity of his case. A judge hasn’t ruled on that motion. The judge also hasn’t ruled on a motion by prosecutors to keep Fitzherbert from talking to media about the case.