Lawyers for a Las Vegas man facing federal trial in Iowa want in his criminal drug conspiracy case stopped because they say President Donald Trump's appointment of an acting U.S. attorney general is illegal.
Attorney Michael Pariente said Wednesday that federal law covering cabinet vacancies doesn't allow Matthew Whitaker to serve as attorney general, so defendant Oliver Maupin's case should be delayed or dismissed.
Pariente acknowledges the challenge filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Davenport, Iowa, is a longshot.
But he says Whitaker's confirmation by the U.S. Senate in 2004 as U.S. attorney in Iowa doesn't carry over to the top Justice Department job.
He says that if Whitaker is unqualified then the Justice Department can't prosecute Maupin.
Justice Department officials did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.