Judge dismisses accused lawyer's claims

June 11, 2008 at 1:10 AM

NEW ORLEANS, June 11 (UPI) -- A federal judge in New Orleans has ruled U.S. Attorney Jim Letten can remain in charge of the prosecution of a lawyer accused of embezzlement.

Jamie Perdigao had argued Letten had a conflict of interest. But U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon ruled last week he did not need to hold an evidentiary hearing on the issue and dismissed Perdigao's claims, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported.

Perdigao allegedly stole $30 million from his former law firm, Adams and Reese. Investigators maintain he transferred money from the firm's client trust account to a Swiss bank account.

In his motion, Perdigao claimed he had offered Letten information and leads in a variety of areas, some of them involving members of the U.S. attorney's staff. Letten called those claims "hearsay malice." Perdigao also said he had information that might lead to the reversal of the conviction of former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.

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