The Egyptian newspaper reported Tuesday that sources in the prison where Morsi is being held said he took the step because otherwise the court would have named a lawyer for him. Morsi reportedly made the decision to hire Selim al-Awa after a visit by his son, Osama, and members of his defense team to the Borg al-Arab Prison in Alexandria.
Morsi's next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 8. He is charged with being responsible for the killing of protesters outside the presidential palace.
His defense team plans to argue that Morsi is still legally president and thus can only be tried by the Supreme Judicial Council.