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Ex-Ukraine President Hires Star U.S. Lawyer In Murder Case

Leonid Kuchma speaks to journalists in Kyiv on March 28.
Ukraine's former President Leonid Kuchma says he has hired a star U.S. lawyer who worked on several high-profile legal cases to act as an adviser in his defense against murder charges.

Alan Dershowitz has joined Kuchma's defense team after the ex-president was last week charged of involvement in the murder of Ukrainian journalist Heorhiy Gongadze in 2000.

Gongadze's investigative reports exposed high-level government corruption in Kyiv.

He also was a frequent critic of Kuchma, who was president of Ukraine from 1994 to the start of 2005.

Rights groups have long accused Kuchma of being behind the murder, despite his denial.

compiled from agency reports