LOS ANGELES — A lawyer best known for defending the audacious "Barefoot Bandit" said Thursday he is set to defend the US soldier accused of killing 16 villagers in southern Afghanistan.

Attorney John Henry Browne said he spoke with the soldier by phone, and hopes to meet him soon soon, possibly in Kuwait, ahead of a possible court martial.

"He's from here, and he knows who I am," Browne told the Tacoma News Tribune newspaper, adding: "We're making contingency arrangements right now."

The as-yet-unidentified soldier, a US Army staff sergeant who trained as a sniper and has served three tours in Iraq, was stationed at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state. The base is just south of Seattle, where Browne is based.

The attorney said the married 38-year-old father of two, a staff sergeant trained as a sniper, asked for Browne to represent him during talks with military officials.

Browne said he spoke to the soldier early Thursday and met with the soldier's family, which according to media reports moved to the Lewis-McChord base shortly after the weekend shooting.

The suspect has been flown to Kuwait in a first step towards being charged and put on trial outside Afghanistan.

Browne is known for representing Colton Harris-Moore, the so-called "Barefoot Bandit," who was found guilty of a string of audacious crimes across the United States and sentenced in January to 6.5 years prison.

Browne's office said the attorney would later release a statement on the case.

A series of court martials were held last year at Lewis-McChord also involving US soldiers killing Afghan civilians.