Fayette County

Fen phen trial delayed until Monday

FRANKFORT — A federal judge indicated Wednesday that he will declare a mistrial for William Gallion if his lawyer's health does not improve by Monday.

The retrial of Gallion and Shirley Cunningham, two former lawyers accused of taking $94 million that should have gone to 440 clients, has been postponed three times because of the health of Gallion's lawyer, O. Hale Almand of Georgia.

Almand, who has struggled with dizziness from an inner ear problem, said he was not ready to proceed with the case Wednesday. But he told U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves that he expects to be ready by Monday morning.

Almand became ill Monday afternoon after federal prosecutors finished questioning their final witness in the five-week-long trial.

Reeves said he's leaning toward declaring a mistrial for Gallion but proceeding with the trial for Cunningham.

In a reversal of his previous position, Cunningham's lawyer, Stephen Dobson of Florida, said he will move for a mistrial to also be declared for Cunningham.

Assistant U.S. Attorney E. J. Walbourn said the government "strenuously objects" to a mistrial being declared for either defendant. He noted that Almand had been required to hire a local attorney but did not.

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.

Their first trial ended in a mistrial after the jury deadlocked.

The former lawyers are charged with wire fraud and conspiracy.