Terror Suspect's First Attorney Nixed

Judge's Decision Removes Arthur Folsom From Najibullah Zazi's Defense Team

The Aurora man federal prosecutors suspect of planning terrorist attacks will not be represented by his original attorney, CALL7 investigators have learned.

Denver attorney Arthur Folsom specialized in divorce and DUI cases before Najibullah Zazi walked into his office in September, needing advice about a pending federal terrorism investigation.

Folsom told CALL7 Investigator Tony Kovaleski that he was removed by a federal judge because he was not on the government's list of approved attorneys. That approval is necessary for attorneys who are paid for by federal money to represent indigent defendants. Folsom had not handled any major criminal cases.

Folsom, who declined to appear on camera, said he is appealing the judge’s decision, hoping that he can continue to represent Zazi and get paid.

Folsom allowed Zazi to speak with FBI agents for nearly three days, leading to Zazi's initial arrest on charges of lying to federal investigators.

"We spent another day today speaking with the FBI down at their offices," Folsom said in September as he and his client entered the federal building. "My client continues to cooperate with them."

Zazi has since been charged with helping plot a terrorist attack on New York City.

Zazi, a former resident of Queens who recently visited Afghanistan, is suspected of collecting chemicals that could be made into explosives, prosecutors contend.

Zazi, who moved to Aurora, was stopped and had his car searched in New York, the day before the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.

Zazi will be represented by Denver attorney J. Michael Dowling.

Zazi is scheduled to appear in court in New York Thursday for a status hearing. During that hearing, his defense attorney is expected to learn the procedures to examine evidence against Zazi. His ability to review the evidence may be limited because the evidence contains sensitive national security information.