Saying many times that “I am a professional", Yusof said it would be naive to say that he did not expect the backlash.
Yusof (left) had served in the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), where he was long-time head of prosecution, retiring as the third most senior officer earlier this year.
During this time, he had led the prosecution team in the Sodomy II trial against Anwar, who was eventually acquitted.
This was also Yusof's final case for the AGC, although he had been quick to recommend an appeal against the sodomy verdict.
“Yes, my family and I had expected this coming (for my decision to defend Anwar on the Bersih 3.0 charge). It would be wrong or naive of me not to expect it.
“However, I am a professional (whether) working in the AGC or as a lawyer. I received a call from a person asking me whether I would like to join Anwar’s defence team. I said 'why not?', as this (the Peaceful Assembly Act) is a new law. And then Anwar called me at 10pm on Monday.
“So that was that and as a professional I attended the court session (yesterday) and did what was required with Karpal Singh and the rest of the co-counsel,” he told Malaysiakini.
His move has received flak on some pro-Umno blogs.
Kota Belud MP Abdul Rahman Dahlan had tweeted: 'mpkotabelud @movebabymove: SODOMY II PROSECUTOR NOW IN ANWAR’S LEGAL TEAM. GOD IS GREAT! Yup, my neighbour said now he knew why Anwar was acquitted.'
Today two ex-PKR parliamentarians questioned Yusof's decision to join Anwar's legal team.
Padang Serai MP N Gobalakrishnan was quoted in Utusan Malaysia as urging Yusof to reveal how much he is charging Anwar in legal fees and whether payment is being made locally or abroad.
Berita Harian quoted Kulim Bandar Baru MP Zulkifli Nordin as questioning Yusof's credibility, given that the latter has been known to be consistent and had, in the past, questioned Anwar's credibility and morality.
Zulkifli said he is not questioning Yusof's move, as it is a professional decision, but how his stance could have changed so much.
'No intention to join PAS '
Yusof said he had expected the adverse comments but “would do the talking in court”.
Asked whether he had felt awkward about being on the defence team, given his involvement in the Sodomy II trial since 2008, Yusof said there was nothing different.
He noted that he had been on the bench, serving as a magistrate and sessions court judge for nine years, and that he loves being on the ground with prosecutors and lawyers.
“It is not awkward at all for me as I like to be on the floor (whether as) a prosecutor or a lawyer,” he said.
As to speculation that he is scheduled to join PAS next month, Yusof maintained what he said yesterday - that he does not have any political affiliation.
“There is no truth (in talk that) I will join a political party or PAS next month, as I am apolitical and I do not have any political affiliation.
“As I said, I am a professional and will do the talking in court."
Although talk persists about his acrimonous relationship with Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail ( right), Yusof insists that he and Gani are “good friends”.
While there may be times when they have a difference in opinion, he said, they are friends.
He added that he also has good rapport with those still in the AGC and with lawyers in private practice.- malaysiakini
Bar Council: It’s Yusof’s right
Yusof: Saya apolitikal, tak sertai PAS...
Bekas peguam cara II Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden menafikan akan menyertai PAS bulan depan sebaliknya mempertahankan pendiriannya untuk kekal tidak terlibat dengan mana-mana kumpulan politik.
"Tiada kebenaran (dalam cakap-cakap) saya akan menyertai politik atau PAS bulan depan, ekoran saya apolitikal dan tidak mempunyai sebarang pertalian politik.
"Seperti saya katakan sebelum ini, saya profesional dan akan terus berhujah di mahkamah."
Sinchew Daily hari ini melaporkan Naib Presiden PAS Datuk Mahfuz Omar sebagai berkata, Yusof akan menyertai parti itu dalam perhimpunan besar mereka "Himpunan Hijau ke Putrajaya" di Alor Setar pada 1 Jun nanti.
Mahfuz bagaimanapun hari ini memberitahu Malaysiakini beliau tidak pernah mengeluarkan kenyataan berhubung kemasukan Yusof ke dalam PAS.
Semalam, Yusof mencuri perhatian apabila mewakili Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim yang didakwa terlibat dalam perhimpunan jalanan.
Bekas orang nombor tiga dalam Pejabat Peguam Negara itu sebelum ini menyertai pasukan pendakwaan terhadap Anwar dalam perbicaraan kes 'liwat II'.
Sementara itu, mengulas khabar angin berhubung hubungan tidak baiknya dengan Peguam Negara Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, Yusof berkata mereka berdua sebenarnya "sahabat baik".
Katanya, mereka masih berkawan walaupun banyak kali mereka mempunyai perbezaan pendapat.
Beliau semalam ketika ditemui selepas prosiding mahkamah berkata tiada masalah peribadi antaranya dengan Abdul dan beliau profesional sejak memilih bersara pada 1 Februari.- malaysiakini