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Defense attorney in fen-phen case ready for February trial

After months of pleading with a federal judge to reschedule the trial of two Lexington-area lawyers accused of cheating their clients out of millions of dollars, a defense lawyer now says he will be able to participate in the trial.

O. Hale Almand Jr. filed a notice Thursday that he's withdrawing his motion to withdraw from the case. Almand said that a case he had in Georgia that was supposed to go to trial this week was dismissed. It was to last three to four weeks.

Another trial, scheduled to begin March 9 in Mississippi, was rescheduled so it would not conflict with Almand's defense of William Gallion.

Gallion and Shirley Cunningham Jr., are scheduled for trial Feb. 17 on wire fraud charges. They're accused of defrauding 440 clients out of $94 million in a lawsuit settlement with the company that made the diet drug fen-phen.

Almand had been trying to withdraw from the case, saying he did not have enough time to prepare a new defense for Gallion. U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves rejected numerous requests to reschedule the trial so it would not conflict with Almand's two other cases.