India-born celebrated fashion designer Anand Jon, convicted for sexually assaulting upcoming models, was today permitted by a California court to defend himself and conceded his petition to fire his attorney.
35-year-old Anand has been convicted by the California court for sexually assaulting upcoming models and now faces a sentence for as many as 162 years of imprisonment. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for August 31.
Appearing before the California Superior Court Judge David Wesley in an orange County Jail jumpsuit and white sleeves, Anand was initially discouraged by the judge from dismissing his lawyer, even as he said that he had the right to defend himself.
Judge Wesley, according to LA Weekly, whose reporters were present during the court hearing, told Anand that once he took over the task to defend himself, he would not be allowed his counsel back.
Anand, however, insisted that he wants to defend his own case now and fire the lawyer. "One of the downsides is that you're not a lawyer. You will be moved to another module that you may not like as much as where you are now," Judge Wesley was quoted as saying.
"Over the next six weeks I plan to do a substantial amount of legal work," Anand informed the judge. "If I come up with credible and substantial evidence, would you consider changing the calendar? It wouldn't be anything frivolous," he said.
"Well, if it's compelling... I'm not making any promises," the judge remarked. "If I have witnesses who are coming forward --," Anand Jon asked. "We have a timetable set, and if you can convince me that you have new evidence, it will be changed," Judge Wesley responded.
Once Judge Wesley agreed that he can defend himself, he wanted a court-recommended investigator and a paralegal. Judge Wesley said that he does not provide paralegals to prose defendants, but will allow him to choose a "runner." The court later allowed Richard Bernard, his attorney, to be his runner.
Anand then requested that he be called by his popular name Anand Jon and not Alexander, his last name, during the court hearing, which was turned down. "I'm going to address you as Mr. Alexander," Wesley was quoted as saying.
As the hearing concluded, Anand sought the permission of the court to dress like a lawyer during his court hearing. "You Can," the judge was quoted as saying when Anand asked: "Can I dress like a lawyer?"
California Court Allows Anand Jon to Defend Himself
Lalit K Jha, Washington
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