Judge Won't Step Down

COVINGTON, Ky. (AP) - A federal judge who jailed three suspended lawyers while they await trial in a fraud case in northern Kentucky says he will not disqualify himself.

U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman said in an order Wednesday he sees no reason to remove himself from the case in which the three jailed lawyers face charges they swindled clients out of millions of dollars. The swindle was allegedly in connection with a $200 million settlement over the diet drug fen-phen.

The three lawyers, Shirley Cunningham Jr., William Gallion and Melbourne Mills Jr., had asked Bertelsman to remove himself from their criminal case, alleging he had shown bias against them. They said through their attorneys that the bias was shown in the judge's comments in ordering them to jail after they sought a delay in their trial. Bertelsman issued a 16-page order in Covington saying there was no bias.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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