The lawyer for John W. Hinckley Jr. asked a federal judge Friday to allow him to withdraw from the would-be assassin’s case, citing unpaid legal bills.
Barry Wm. Levine has been representing Hinckley since at least the mid-1990s as the presidential assailant has sought more freedom from St. Elizabeths Hospital, where he has been held since being found not guilty by reason of insanity for wounding President Reagan and three other men outside the Washington Hilton hotel on March 30, 1981.
The would-be assassin's substantial legal costs have been footed by his family. His father, an wealthy oil executive, died several years ago, and his mother lives in Williamsburg, Va. Hinckley has been permitted by U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman to visit his mother on lengthy trips without the supervision of hospital personnel. Levine and St. Elizabeth are seeking to expand those visits to as long as 24-straight days and to grant the hospital the authority to place Hinckley in Williamsburg on a permanent basis.
Federal prosecutors fought those requests during a lengthy set of hearings that concluded in February, arguing that Hinckley was not ready for an expansion of privileges or more freedom.They argued he is deceptive, has issues with women and has not taken the necessary steps to integrate into the Williamsburg community. In a motion last week, prosecutors also raised questions about a key element of the hospital’s treatment plan that appears to have fallen through.
In a two-page motion, Levine sought permission to withdraw as Hinckley’s lawyer, writing that “there are significant outstanding legal bills in arrears” and that his client’s family has said “it will not provide future funding for attorneys’ fees, expenses or related experts in this matter.”
“The repeated hearings that the Government has insisted upon have been extremely expensive, even at the reduced rates” he had been charging, Levine wrote.
The lawyer, a partner at the firm of Dickstein Shapiro, did not respond to emails or phone messages seeking comment. He added in his motion that his withdrawal would not “unduly delay” the case because the judge has told attorneys that he did not expect to issue a ruling on the hospital’s request until at least November.