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River Forest Threat Suspect Wants New Lawyer

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CHICAGO (STMW) -Ronald Haddad, the River Forest man charged with sending threatening e-mails and letters to numerous elected officials, filed a long, rambling hand-written motion in federal court earlier this week asking to have his attorney replaced, the charges against him dropped and his home incarceration lifted.

On Feb. 10, 2009, Haddad, now 35, was arrested at his home in the 100 block of Park Avenue in River Forest, and charged with threatening to kill or harm 21 local and state elected officials between December 17, 2007 and January 26, 2009.

He has since been under house arrest and on electronic monitoring. For nearly a year he underwent extensive psychological evaluation to determine his mental state.

According to court filings, Haddad’s federal public defender, attorney Piyush Chandra, had been working since February 2010 on a plea deal. That agreement fell through, and on April 6 Haddad was indicted on 30 counts of sending threatening letters or e-mails.

On Aug. 4, Chandra and federal prosecutors agreed to continue a status hearing on Haddad’s case. On Wednesday Haddad filed an eight-page hand-written motion before Judge Jeffrey Cole, asking the court to dismiss Chandra, adding his attorney to a long list of perceived antagonists. Haddad accused Chandra of providing “ineffective counsel and committing conflict of interest.”

“My lawyer, Piyush Chandra has been selling me out for this whole case,” Haddad wrote in the Wednesday filing, alleging Chandra lied to him in counseling that certain motions Haddad wanted to file were “frivolous” and that Chandra provided him a “forged indictment.”

He further alleged Chandra is “using my case to betray me in keeping my case against me to serve the interest of absolute scum as the FBI.”

“Chandra tried several times to make me think the government has some great secret weapon with which to connect me to the (evidence against him),” Haddad wrote.

Haddad said Chandra was working with the government to “push me to the breaking point of escape, suicide, or a guilty plea or bond violation so Chandra’s friends in government can score some kind of win for all the time, money and loud stupid publicity they gambled, ‘thinking they had something.'”

The original federal criminal complaint against Haddad alleged that, among other statements, Haddad suggested in a January 2009 e-mail about elected officials, “perhaps knifing one of their small children to the wall 100% justified and wonderfully bloody home-invasion-style.”

Haddad defends those comments in a June 25, 2009, letter he included in Wednesday’s court filing, contending his threatening e-mails are no different than free speech voiced by comedians Bill Maher and George Carlin, filmmaker Spike Lee and social activist Father Michael Phleger.

“Bill Maher … said corruption by the filthy rich like A.I.G. and Berny Maidoff (sic) can be successfully discouraged from now on … if we killed two random rich guys,” Haddad said.

“Maher was not subject to any consequence or warning for this statement,” Haddad said, “just like George Carlin and Spike Lee were never prosecuted or pulled off the air or sued or made to apologize for their extreme statements.”

In a separate letter, Haddad also accused River Forest of having his FOID card revoked in retaliation for his filing a federal lawsuit against the department, one of three against River Forest and a total of 20 federal and state lawsuits Haddad filed between 1999 and 2009.

In approving the revocation, Illinois State Police cited his mental condition as posing a clear and present danger to himself or others and directed him to contact River Forest authorities if he wished to appeal the revocation.

Haddad protested to the judge that requiring him to get approval from River Forest police for an appeal of his FOID card revocation is “like telling the Jews to ask Hitler for a reprive (sic).”

Haddad has not had much luck in court the last two years.

On Jan. 22, 2009, Judge Ruben Castillo dismissed Haddad’s ninth federal civil lawsuit, against Oak Park police, offering “due sympathy to Mr. Haddad that despite appointment of counsel and patience by this court, no valid federal legal claim exists for Mr. Haddad to assert.”

On Feb. 10, 2009, the day he was arrested on terrorism charges, Haddad filed an appeal of Castillo’s ruling.

At his bond hearing Feb. 17, 2009, Haddad asked Judge Cole for permission to leave home confinement to attend court hearings on his then-current federal civil cases.

“Absolutely not,” Cole replied.

– Pioneer Press, via the Sun-Times Media Wire

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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