Couey Attorneys Seek Judge's Removal

Attorneys for a sex offender accused of kidnapping, sexually assaulting and killing 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford (search) say they are being rushed to trial and are seeking to have the judge removed from the case.

Assistant Public Defender Daniel Lewan said in a motion this week that Circuit Judge Richard Howard (search) is not giving the defense enough time to prepare for a case that could have more than 300 witnesses.

The judge rejected a defense motion last month to delay John Couey's (search) trial until the summer or fall of 2006, setting a trial date of Feb. 6.

Prosecutors said the latest motion lacks "any factual basis."

Couey has pleaded not guilty to capital murder, kidnapping and sexual assault in Jessica's death. The girl disappeared from her home Feb. 23. Her body was found March 19, buried behind a mobile home where Couey was staying.

Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty.