Judge steps down in rape trial of former South Africa deputy president Lisl Brunner at 9:36 AM ET
[JURIST] The trial of former South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma [official profile] for rape began in Johannesburg Monday, though proceedings were cut short when presiding Judge Bernard Ngoepe stepped down from the case. The defense had argued that Ngoepe's issuance of search warrants in relation to separate corruption charges Zuma is facing affected the judge's objectivity, but Ngoepe said he withdrew from the trial [Reuters report] not in response to the defense but because he wanted to ensure that the judiciary was beyond reproach in such a key trial.
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