Ex-lab employee requests new lawyer

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A defense lawyer says a former Los Alamos National Laboratory nuclear physicist who admitted communicating classified nuclear weapons data may try to withdraw his guilty plea.
Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni and his wife, Marjorie Roxby Mascheroni, were accused of offering to help develop a nuclear weapon for Venezuela through dealings with an undercover FBI agent posing as a representative of the Venezuelan government.
The couple pleaded guilty in June in federal court in Albuquerque, but a Nov. 27 court filing by a federal public defender says Pedro Mascheroni may seek to withdraw his plea.
The filing was made in connection with Mascheroni’s pending request to obtain new court-appointed lawyers.
The public defender, Richard Winterbottom, said it was a “future possibility” that Mascheroni would change his plea but did not elaborate.
In the filing, Winterbottom asked a judge to keep confidential a 35-page letter that Mascheroni had written the judge to express dissatisfaction with his current lawyers and to ask for appointment of new ones.
Release would disclose Mascheroni’s defense strategy, Winterbottom wrote.
Federal prosecutors have yet to respond to Mascheroni’s request that they not be allowed to see his letter.

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