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Activist attorney takes case

Portland Seven defendant Patrice Lumumba Ford will replace his court-appointed attorney with controversial activist New York lawyer Stanley Cohen and local lawyer Marc Sussman.

Portland attorney Whitney Boise, who has represented Ford since he was indicted on federal terrorism charges last year, is withdrawing from the case.

Ford was indicted, along with five others, last October for conspiring to wage war against the United States and provide support to al-Qaida and the former Taliban government of Afghanistan. A seventh defendant was indicted in May.

Cohen has represented a number of Muslims facing federal charges, including Sheik Mohamed Abdirahman Kariye, the local mosque leader who was arrested last year on immigration, Social Security and welfare fraud charges.

Cohen arranged a plea bargain agreement with the federal government that resulted in no jail time for Kariye.

Cohen has visited Portland several times in the past year. He helped organize a group of volunteer lawyers to represent local Muslims being called before the federal grand jury that brought the charges in the alleged terror plot.

The final decision on whether Cohen can represent Ford will be made by U.S. District Judge Robert Jones, who is trying the case.

Ñ Jim Redden