Calls for inquiry into Moszkowicz affair

The deputy president of the Amsterdam court has called for an independent inquiry into the affair around top defence lawyer Bram Moszkowicz who announced yesterday that he is no longer able to defend crime boss suspect Willem Holleeder because of the publicity surrounding the case.

Moszkowicz has been the centre of media attention for the past week because of his relationship with Holleeder, whom he has known for 20 years.
Huub Willems told NOS tv on Monday evening that it was ‘unacceptable’ that a lawyer felt forced to stop defending his client. Willemsa said he is not interested who was to blame for the decision but wants the affair investigated ‘from top to bottom’.
Moszkowicz launched a passionate and furious attack against the media, the justice system, politicians and the public prosecution service at a packed press conference on Monday afternoon. He claimed there has been a conscious attempt to discredit him so that he could no longer represent Holleeder, a charge denied in reactions by the justice department and the media.
Thomas Bruning of the journalists union NVJ said Moszkowicz’s attack on the media was ‘regretful’ but that it came from his ‘frustration’ at having lost his legal case against Jort Kelder, editor of Quote. Last week a judge ruled that Kelder was within his rights when he called Moszkowicz and Holleeder ‘mafia buddies’.
Yesterday Kelder said he was shocked by the lawyer’s personal attack on him during the press conference. Kelder said he had only being doing his job as a journalist and denied Moszkowicz’s suggestion that he was involved in a conspiracy against him.
Christian Democrat MP Sybrand van Haersma Buma too said he did not understand Moszkowicz’s criticism of him during Monday’s press conference. ‘I did my work and asked how it was possible that a suspect accused of serious crimes could give an interview from a heavily guarded prison,’ he told ANP in a reaction.
The MP was referring to an interview last month which Holleeder gave to crime reporter John van den Heuvel. ‘Not every criminal can plea his case for five minutes on the radio,’ added Van Haersma Buma.
During his press conference, Moszkowicz said he was shocked that MPs had found it necessary to get involved with the case. He could not understand that Holleeder could be portrayed as a ‘monster’ by the media but not be allowed to give a reaction.
Holleeder, who was released from prison in 1992 after serving five years for kidnapping beer boss Freddy Heineken, is accused of blackmailing several real estate magnates. He is also being investigated in relation to several gangland killings.
Moszkowicz says he has serious doubts as to whether it is possible for Holleeder to get a fair trial in the Netherlands.
Holleeder’s defence is to be taken over by defence lawyer Jan-Hein Kuijpers. The trial is due to start in April.

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