Former Bashara defense attorney testifies about challenges representing him in murder trial

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DETROIT — An attorney who represented a suburban Detroit man convicted of hiring someone to kill his wife told a judge Wednesday that she had challenges defending him.

Lillian Diallo, who testified during a hearing to determine whether Bob Bashara should get a new trial, said some of Bashara's suggestions would have amounted to bad legal strategy.

"Mr. Bashara ... thinks he's the smartest man in the room and in the planet," Diallo said in Wayne County Circuit Court. "I am a lawyer. I didn't get into this standing on a street corner. So, with all respect to Mr. Bashara, he cannot tell me or dictate to me which way he thinks something legally should go."

The 57-year-old Bashara wants his murder conviction and life sentence thrown out, saying his rights were violated by an ineffective defense presented by Diallo and Michael McCarthy.

Jane Bashara was found dead in 2012 inside her Mercedes-Benz, which was ditched in a Detroit alley just miles from the couple's home in the upper-class suburb of Grosse Pointe Park.

Prosecutors have said Bob Bashara coerced handyman Joe Gentz into strangling his wife and abandoning the body. Gentz is in prison after being convicted of second-degree murder.

As the case unfolded, details of Bob Bashara's interest in the bondage and domination lifestyle surfaced.

Diallo was asked Wednesday by Robert Ambrose, the attorney handling Bashara's appeal, if she researched that lifestyle while preparing for Bashara's defense. Diallo said she did not.

"That was not the cause of death of Jane Bashara," Diallo testified. "Jane Bashara was choked, strangled, brutally murdered. Why would I waste the precious time that we had trying to find out who likes to spank who and how they like to do it and what they want to wear while they do it?"

The hearing will resume Oct. 14.

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