Alexandria prosecutor William L. Cowhig yesterday rejected suggestions by a former member of his defense team that he resign even though he was acquitted last week by a Circuit Court jury of a bribery charge.
"I'm not going to resign tonight, and I'm not going to resign tomorrow," said Cowhig, 53, who has been on temporary leave from his official futies since he was indicted Aug. 3 on bribery and gambling charges.
Alexandria lawyer Leonard B. Susholz announced last weekend that he had left Cowhig's defense effort and would not take part in Cowhig's two upcoming trials are scheduled to begin Jan, 22 and March 5.
Sussholz said last weekend that he felt Cowhig should step down permanently from his post as commonwealth's attorney because a lingering "cloud of suspicion" from the bribery trial would make it difficult for Cowhig to function in his official capacity.
Roger L. Amole Jr., president of the Alexandria Bar Association, said it is "probably a good idea" for Cowhig to resign the prosecutors's post.
Another Cowhig defense lawyer, James M. Lowe, said yetersday, "I know Cowhig doesn't want to resign." But Lowe added: "Would you want to go through that again? It would be difficult for Cowhig to work with the Alexandria Police Department in the future. I can see how people can come to the conclusion that it's in the best interest of the city for Cowhig to resign, even though he's innocent."
Cheif defense lawyer Louis Koutoulakos, who resigned from Cowhig's defense team immediately after the briberty trial, said yesterday, "I don't have any facts on the gambling charges. I would certainly hope he is innocent of those.
"There comes a time when you have to decide what the right thing is to do. I'm sure Billy will do what's right. He loves that city. That trial just about ripped that city apart. There's no sense in keeping the flame alive."
The bribery trial "generated so much emotion," Koutoulakos said, "it almost got away from us."
Sussholz said that "during the holiday and religious season" he hoped special prosecutor Edward J. White would drop the two remaining gambling charges "as an act of charity."
Cowhig said yetersday, "I don't know anything about that. I haven't talked with anyone about this and nobody's talked to me."
White is on a two-week vacation and could not be reached for comment yesterday. He said last weekend he intended to proceed with the two gambling trials.
Asked yetersday if Lowe and fellow defense lawyer William B. Moffitt were considering withdrawing from Cowhig's legal team, Lowe said, "We're certainly thinking about it. Then again, there might not be anything left to pull out of."
No pretrial motions have been filed in connection with the gambling charges, said Lowe, who served with Koutoulakos, Sussholz and Moffitt without fee during the bribery trial. "It's a little late but not impossible" for Cowhig to prepare a defense now, according to Lowe.
Cowhig was indicted on two sparate charges of illegal gambling in connection with bingo games he allegedly ran last year in Alexandria.