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Legal Ethics

Lawyer Likely to Turn Witness in Ex-Client’s Stock Fraud Trial

Posted Oct 10, 2007 6:52 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The ex-lawyer for a former dot-com billionaire is expected to testify against him in his stock-fraud trial.

Lawyer Preston Burton is expected to testify about allegations that Charles "Junior" Johnson pushed him to introduce fake e-mails as evidence, the Washington Post reports. Prosecutors have added a charge of obstruction of justice to cover the allegations against Johnson, who was a majority owner of the now-defunct company PurchasePro.

An earlier prosecution of Johnson for making misleading statements about company revenue ended in a mistrial last year. His lawyers contend the fact that he held on to his own stock even as his company took a nosedive shows he was not guilty of fraud.

The retrial is getting under way in federal court in Alexandria, Va.

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