Prosecutors try to oust defense attorney in child death case

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Prosecutors try to oust defense attorney in child death case

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Jennifer and Joseph Rosenbaum (Credit: Henry County Sheriff’s Office)

Prosecutors on Friday called for the dismissal of the defense attorney in the murder case against Jennifer Rosenbaum, the foster parent accused of killing a 2-year-old girl in her care.

Prosecutors said the attorney, Corinne Mull, has a conflict of interest in representing both Rosenbaum and her husband, Joseph Rosenbaum.

Both Rosenbaums have been indicted on charges of malice murder, felony murder, first-degree cruelty to children and aggravated battery in the death of Lalia Marie Daniel on Nov. 17, 2015. Both have pleaded not guilty.

If the state creates separate trials for the Rosenbaums, and calls one of them as a witness at the trial of the other, Mull would have a conflict of interest, prosecutors said in Henry County Superior Court. In addition, if one of the couple asserts claims against the other, Mull would find it impossible to represent both of their interests, they said.

“It is clear that if this case were to proceed to trial the defense attorney would have divided loyalties to each of her clients that would prevent her from effectively representing either one of her clients,” said the prosecutors’ motion.

They argue that Mull can’t represent either one of the Rosenbaums now, since she has such extensive knowledge of both. They want her removed from the case completely.

Mull, for her part, said she has every right by law to represent both of the Rosenbaums.

She added that both have made clear that they don’t want any plea deal from the state.

“They want to be represented by one attorney — me,” said Mull, who has represented the couple for about a year and a half.

Judge Brian Amero took the motion under advisement, rendering no decision.

The Rosenbaum case has dragged on in part because the Henry County district attorney recently recused himself due to a conflict of interest. Jennifer Rosenbaum apparently met Laila while Rosenbaum was working as an intern in the DA’s office in the juvenile division between May 2015 and September 2015. Her interest in becoming the toddler’s foster parent was sparked during those encounters.

The prosecution is now led jointly by the district attorney’s offices of Cobb and DeKalb counties.

Jennifer Rosenbaum, herself a former foster child, reportedly told her attorney that Laila died after the child began choking on a piece of chicken and Rosenbaum performed the Heimlich maneuver. Authorities say, however, that Laila died from a blunt-force blow to her abdomen that ruptured her pancreas. An autopsy revealed injuries to the child’s body that were months old.

A judge has set a trial date of Oct. 30.

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