Hearing postponed for Marine jailed in Mexico: Andrew Tahmooressi fired his attorney

TIJUANA - After nearly two months in a Mexican jail facing weapons charges, Marine reservist Andrew Tahmooressi finally was brought before a judge Wednesday but not before firing his attorney.

"He didn't have confidence in the first attorney," said his mother, Jill Tahmooressi. "I mean, there were red flags from the very beginning but we were so vulnerable by being in a foreign country and a foreign judicial system."

She says they have already hired a new federal attorney that specializes in international criminal law and they are hopeful the judge will finally hear Tahmooressi's side of the story. The lawyer's identity has not been revealed.

"Andrew was relieved and prepared to state the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God in that courtroom today," said Jill Tahmooressi.

On March 31, the former Marine sergeant was arrested after he drove into Mexico with three U.S. registered firearms. He claimed he missed the final U-turn just before the San Ysidro Port of Entry. Tahmooressi was arrested for bringing guns into the country, and later, for trying to escape.

Tahmooressi and his mother initially claimed he had just moved to San Diego and this was the first time he had ever tried to cross into Mexico. However, that story began to unravel after Mexican media reports surfaced alleging that he had crossed the border several times prior.

Earlier this week, his mother changed the story. Jill said Tahmooressi actually walked into Mexico earlier on the day of his arrest to get lunch, then crossed back to get his truck. She told 10News that her son's attorney told Tahmooressi to tell Mexican prosecutors that he had never crossed the border.

Jill said that when she confronted the attorney about the lies, he was convincing.          

"'You've got to trust me,'" Jill said the attorney told her. "'This is Mexico, not America. We've got to eliminate suspicion.'"

The strategy unraveled when Mexican media reported there was surveillance video of previous crossings. 

His mother, upset at the lies, says she kept the attorney because she did not want to delay the hearing, but says Tahmooressi reportedly fired the attorney before the scheduled evidentiary hearing.

The hearing has been postponed, while the new attorney has time to prepare.

Jill said Tahmooressi -- who completed two tours in Afghanistan -- had moved to San Diego from Florida several months prior to his arrest to seek treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Earlier this month he was moved from a state penitentiary in Tijuana to a federal prison in Tecate, about 40 miles away.

The incident has received attention from several politicians. Congressmen Duncan Hunter and Scott Peters have written letters to the Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, hoping for a diplomatic intervention. There have also been rallies on Tahmooressi's behalf, coast-to-coast.

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