Judge: Le Murder Suspect Can't Fire Lawyer

Esteban is scheduled to return to court on Dec. 2

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Hayward Police Dept.
    Esteban is the suspect in Michelle Le's homicide investigation.

    A judge today denied Giselle Esteban's motion to fire the court-appointed lawyer who is representing her on charges that she murdered nursing student Michelle Le.

    Le, a 26-year-old San Mateo woman who was attending Samuel Merritt University in Oakland, disappeared from Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Hayward in May. Her body was found in unincorporated part of Alameda County between Pleasanton and Sunol on Sept. 17.

    Esteban, a 27-year-old Union City woman who attended high school with Le in San Diego, said Tuesday that she wanted to replace Oakland attorney Andrea Auer, who has been representing her for about a month.

    But Alameda County Superior Court Judge Gary Picetti announced at the end of a closed hearing today that he was denying Esteban's motion.

    Picetti said Monday that prosecutors, explained that the media and the public are barred from hearings at which defendants seek to fire their court-appointed lawyers because "confidential things may be revealed."

    Esteban, who is pregnant and is being held in custody without bail, is scheduled to return to court on Dec. 2 to enter a plea.

    Auer had planned to seek bail for Esteban at a hearing on Monday but that motion was put on hold when Esteban sought to fire her.

    Auer said today that she may still try to get bail for Esteban at a later date but she hasn't yet made a final decision on the matter.

    Bay City News contributed to this report.