The trial of Michael Poth, the former Marine accused of fatally stabbing fellow Marine Philip Bushong during an altercation in D.C.’s Barracks Row neighborhood in April 2012, has again been delayed. According to witnesses, Poth directed anti-gay epithets at Bushong, who was straight, the night of the stabbing.
Poth, originally scheduled to be tried in March on a charge of second-degree murder while armed, has retained attorney Bernard Grimm as his defense lawyer after his previous lawyer, David Benowitz, asked to withdraw as counsel, citing irreconcilable differences with his client that resulted in an “irreparably damaged” attorney-client relationship.
Poth’s March trial date was delayed after Benowitz told the court he could not defend his client to the best of his ability due to health concerns. At that time, D.C. Superior Court Judge Russell Canan rescheduled Poth for an April 8 trial. But after Benowitz withdrew as counsel on March 25, Canan cancelled the April trial and gave Poth five additional months to prepare his defense.
Poth is now scheduled for an Aug. 2 trial readiness hearing, when Canan will determine whether the government and Poth’s defense lawyer are prepared to move forward with the trial.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Liebman notified the court March 25 that a government plea offer had been extended to Poth and will remain open until June 1, should Poth choose to plead guilty to the charge against him. Poth remains in custody, held without bond.