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Forum News Service, Published February 07 2014

Grand Forks attorney charged with murder conspiracy hires lawyer

GRAND FORKS - Henry Howe, the Grand Forks attorney charged with conspiring with two convicted drug dealers to kill a witness in an earlier drug case, has hired David Thompson of Grand Forks to defend him.

Both have law offices downtown, about two blocks apart.

Howe, 72, was charged last week in state district court in Grafton with conspiring with a client, Paul Lysegen, and Wesley Smith, to kill a female undercover informant.

“Henry Howe did not commit any crime,” Thompson said Friday. “He is a fine lawyer and a kind and decent human being. There is absolutely no merit to these charges whatsoever.”

Howe plans to add at least one more attorney to his defense team, Thompson said.

At his initial appearance Jan. 30, Howe told Judge Richard Geiger the charge appeared to be “payback” from investigators and the prosecutor for his years defending clients charged with drug crimes.

Thompson’s first move in the case was to file a motion seeking the court remove Geiger as judge in the case.

A defendant is allowed one such “peremptory” challenge to a judge sitting on a case without giving a reason, and Thompson did not include any reason in his motion.