State prosecutors have asked a federal judge for permission to end their defense of a New Jersey state trooper accused of using excessive force during an arrest three years ago, according to a published report.

The Star-Ledger reports the state Attorney General's office filed its request July 27 after deciding it had a "professional obligation" to withdraw its representation of Staff Sgt. Richard Wambold Jr. The state cited a conflict of interest, saying it would be defending Wambold while also prosecuting him internally on administrative misconduct charges.

It's not known when a ruling will be made.

Wambold's attorney, who has maintained his client's innocence, told the newspaper that he will challenge the motion. Charles Sciarra says the state should pay for the defense of a "dedicated public servant."
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)