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Risky business: Some Capitol riot defendants forgo lawyers

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Some rioter s forego lawyers

Some of the defendants charged in the storming of the U.S. Capitol are turning away defense lawyers and electing to represent themselves, undeterred by their lack of legal training or repeated warnings from judges.

That choice already has led to some curious legal maneuvers and awkward exchanges in court.

A New York man charged in the Jan. 6 insurrection wants to bill the government for working on his own case. A Pennsylvania restaurant owner is trying to defend herself from jail. A judge told another New Yorker that he may have incriminated himself during courtroom arguments.

The right to self-representation is a bedrock principle of the Constitution. But a longtime judge cited an old adage in advising a former California police chief that he would have “a fool for a client” if he represented himself.

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