Carlos Lehder Rivas, a reputed founder of the Medellin drug cartel now serving life in a U.S. federal prison, has filed suit against his former Miami defense lawyer for malpractice.

Lehder, who is acting as his own attorney in the matter, seeks $13 million in damages and a refund of the $1.2 million he paid attorney Edward Shohat.The Colombian drug kingpin, who was convicted in May 1988 of smuggling 3.3 tons of cocaine into the United States between 1979 and 1980, said in a brief filed Dec. 7 that Shohat failed to provide an effective defense in Lehder's behalf, resulting in the life sentence without parole.

Shohat and co-counsel Jose Quinon rested their case without calling any witnesses, saying they had destroyed the credibility of all of the government's witnesses.