CHICAGO (CBS) — A Cook County judge ruled Friday that a Chicago area woman has a right to access her trust fund to hire an attorney as she fights charges she murdered her mother.
Heather Mack, who is 19 and pregnant, is accused of killing her mother — who set up the trust fund — while they were vacationing at a luxury resort in Bali last year. Mack is charged along with her boyfriend, Tommy Schaefer, who is 21.
Mack filed an emergency motion Thursday seeking to force her uncle, William Wiese — her mother’s brother — to give her access to $150,000 from the the $1.56 million trust fund to pay her defense attorney.
Wiese so far has refused to release “a penny,” according to the motion filed by Mack this week. Wiese initially refused to pay for Mack’s current attorney in Bali because the fee agreement “could allow for bribery,” according to Mack’s motion.
Cook County Judge Neil Cohen said Mack should get access to the money but believes the attorney she has hired in Bali is not trustworthy and that she needs to find a better one before the money is disbursed.
“We’re just happy that she’s going to have some funds available for her so she can have a proper legal defense,” Anthony Scifo, Mack’s attorney, told reporters in Chicago.
Cohen said time is of the essence since Mack’s trial is set to start up again next week and that he would make himself available over the weekend if necessary. Mack has maintained her innocence, while her court motion contends Schaefer confessed to the murder of Mack’s mother, Sheila von Wiese-Mack. The 62-year-old woman’s brutally beaten body was found stuffed in a suitcase outside the resort where the three were staying.
Cohen also appointed an interim trustee since Mack’s uncle could receive proceeds from the trust if Mack is found guilty of her mother’s murder and executed and her baby does not survive.
Mack, seven months pregnant, faces execution by firing squad if found guilty of killing her mother.
Contributing: Sun-Times Media Wire (Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2015. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)