Prosecutors fail to oust defense attorney in child death case

Prosecutors have failed in their attempt to dismiss 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 filed a motion last week asserting that attorney Corinne Mull has a conflict of interest in representing both Rosenbaum and her husband, Joseph Rosenbaum.

Henry County Superior Court Judge Brian Amero denied the motion, without offering explanation.

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.

Prosecutors said that 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. 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.

They argued that Mull can’t represent either one of the Rosenbaums now, since she has such extensive knowledge of both.

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.

The Rosenbaum case has dragged on in part because the Henry County district attorney recently recused himself due to a conflict of interest. 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.

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