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Lakireddy judge pulls out of case

By Hank Sims, Daily Planet staff
Friday December 14, 2001

Citing a “conflict of interest,” the federal court judge presiding over the trial of Vijay and Prasad Lakireddy, sons of jailed Berkeley landlord Lakireddy Bali Reddy, has handed the case to a colleague. 

Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong signed an order recusing herself from the Lakireddy case on Monday.  

Judge Claudia Wilken will preside over the trial of the brothers, who stand accused of conspiracy to bring aliens into the United States illegally, importing aliens for immoral purposes and traveling to engage in a sexual act with a juvenile. 

The dates of all future hearings in the case have been canceled. Wilken will reassign new dates during the coming weeks. 

In her order, Brown Armstrong gave no explanation of the “conflict of interest,” leaving observers puzzled about what that conflict may be. 

Lucas Guttentag, an ACLU lawyer representing several of the victims in the case, said on Thursday that Brown Armstrong’s reticence on the subject was not unusual. 

“She wasn’t required to give any more information than she did in the order,” he said.