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Illness postpones fen-phen retrial

FRANKFORT — The retrial of two former lawyers accused of taking millions of dollars from their clients has been postponed until Thursday morning because a defense attorney is ill.

Georgia lawyer O. Hale Almand, who represents William Gallion, became dizzy about 4 p.m. Monday in U.S. District Court. Testimony ended early for the day.

It was the third time the trial has been postponed because of Almand's health. The trial was delayed for a week at the beginning of March.

Almand's health triggered concerns that U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves might have to declare a second mistrial. But Almand told a lawyer who is temporarily representing Gallion that he just needs rest and expects to be ready for trial Thursday.

Almand has an ear infection that affects his balance, Reeves said.

Cunningham and Gallion are accused of taking $94 million that should have gone to former fen-phen diet-drug users in the 2001 settlement of a $200 million lawsuit.

Federal prosecutors and Cunningham's lawyer, Stephen Dobson, told Reeves they want to avoid a mistrial. The judge said he would research whether he can declare a mistrial for Gallion but continue the case for Cunningham.

Willis Coffey was ordered to report back on Almand's condition by Wednesday afternoon. Reeves is to conduct a hearing at 4 p.m. if Almand is not feeling better.

Cunningham and Gallion's first trial resulted in a mistrial after jurors could not reach a verdict. A third lawyer, Melbourne Mills Jr., was acquitted.

Cunningham and Gallion are charged with wire fraud and conspiracy.

Prosecutors were questioning their final witness Monday. The former lawyers are expected to present their case after the last witness concludes his testimony.