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Ex-attorney wants conviction overturned

A former attorney has asked a judge to throw out his federal conviction of swindling a pharmaceutical company out of millions over the diet drug Fen-Phen.

Robert Arledge was convicted in 2007 and sentenced to six years for his role in the scheme, which netted more than $6 million from the drug company Wyeth. The U.S. Supreme Court denied his appeal in 2009.

Fen-Phen was a prescription diet drug pulled from the market in 1997 after research revealed it could cause heart problems.

Federal prosecutors say Arledge knowingly allowed clients to make claims of about $250,000 each, even though they had no legitimate health problems caused by the drug.

In new documents filed in federal court in Jackson, Arledge claims the defense attorneys he hired were, in essence, working against his interests, denying him his Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights during his criminal trial.

Arledge claims his lead attorney was preoccupied with personal issues stemming from his wife’s 2006 arrest in Louisiana on drug charges. Arledge also says another attorney he hired to assist Koch did not tell him that the lawyer had represented attorney Shane Langston, whose firm had dealings with claimants in the original Mississippi Fen-Phen litigation.

Federal prosecutors have not yet responded to Arledge’s claims, according to court records.

Arledge is serving his sentence at the Federal Prison Camp at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala.

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