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Quattrone conviction overturned

March 21, 2006 at 11:45 AM

NEW YORK, March 21 (UPI) -- In a big setback to the Justice Department, a U.S. appeals court set aside the obstruction of justice conviction of investment banker Frank P. Quattrone.

The court pointed to errors in the trial judge's jury instructions. As a result, the court held Quattrone, accused of encouraging subordinates to destroy documents sought by a grand jury, did not get a fair trial, reports The Washington Post.

The appeals court reassigned the case to a new judge, but noted the evidence against the former Credit Suisse First Boston LLC banker was more than sufficient for conviction.

If he faces a retrial, it will be the third one for Quattrone, whose first trial resulted in a hung jury.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office said the ruling was being reviewed after which prosecutors will consider their options.

Separately, The New York Times reported Quattrone saying in a statement, "For over three years during this difficult ordeal, I have held my head high knowing I was innocent and never intended to obstruct justice."

The Times report said that in a similar setback to the government, the Supreme Court last year overturned the conviction of the accounting firm Arthur Andersen.

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