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Defense: German man has right to be at own trial

Wednesday - 8/28/2013, 5:40pm  ET

ERIC TUCKER
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Lawyers for a German man charged with killing his elderly wife say it'd be unconstitutional to hold a murder trial in his absence.

Prosecutors have suggested Albrecht Muth's trial can move forward even though he's been physically weakened by lengthy fasts.

Muth is charged in the August 2011 beating and strangulation death of 91-year-old Viola Drath inside the couple's row home. He has pleaded not guilty.

Muth, who has claimed to be a brigadier general in the Iraqi army, has said his wife was killed in an Iranian hit job.

Defense lawyers said in court papers this week that the 49-year-old Muth is "participating in a religious fast" and that the government can't interfere with his religious beliefs. They say he has a constitutional right to attend his trial.


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