Judge allows Michael Valva's attorney to withdraw over possible conflict of interest

Posted: Updated:

A judge on Monday allowed the attorney of Michael Valva to withdraw over a possible conflict of interest.

Michael Valva and his fiancée Angela Pollina are facing second-degree murder and child endangerment charges in the death of Valva's son Thomas.

The boy died of hypothermia last month after allegedly being forced to sleep in a freezing garage. Valva and Pollina pleaded not guilty.

Valva's attorney Robert Del Col said that almost a year ago, he bumped into and gave free legal advice to Valva's ex-wife, Justyna Zubko-Valva, in the hallway of a courtroom when she was fighting for custody of her kids. The judge decided that the interaction could create a conflict of interest and dismissed the attorney.

Zubko-Valva says she doesn't remember meeting Del Col, and was upset she couldn't tell the judge that on the record.

He then told Valva to hire another attorney. Valva, an NYPD transit cop, told a family court judge he couldn't afford a lawyer because his job was terminated. The department disputed that claim, saying Valva was suspended without pay.

"He keeps constantly saying … he has an excuse that he doesn't have money, he doesn't have funds, which is a complete lie. He's got thousands and thousands of dollars in his account," says Zubko-Valva, Thomas' mother.

The judge ordered a review of all of Valva's finances to see if he could qualify for a free court-appointed attorney.

Valva is due back in court on March 5.

 Judge rules in favor of Thomas Valva's mother during custody hearing for her 2 other sons 

Prosecutors outline ‘house of horrors’ abuse that led to Thomas Valva’s death 

Judge in divorce, custody battle between Thomas Valva's parents recuses himself from case 

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