Mortgage fraud charges against Point Breeze lawyer allowed to continue

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An attorney’s effort to beat federal fraud charges against him by accusing the prosecutor of misconduct has failed with a judge’s decision today to let the case continue.

Arthur Smith, 64, of Point Breeze, faces wire fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy, money laundering and tax charges, most of which are related to loan applications that he helped to present to units of JPMorgan Chase Bank.

Mr. Smith’s attorney, Stephen Stallings, had argued in motions and court hearings that assistant U.S. attorney Brendan Conway made improper statements before the grand jury that issued the indictment. U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer wrote that some of Mr. Conway’s characterizations would have been stricken from the record if offered at trial, but weren’t “misconduct” in a grand jury proceeding.

“Upon review of the grand jury transcript of Smith’s testimony in its entirety,” wrote Judge Fischer, “the Court believes that AUSA Conway’s examination of Smith did not rise to the level of prosecutorial misconduct. In fact, the Court finds that AUSA Conway conducted appropriate cross examination of Smith” on several issues.

In an 88-page order, Judge Fischer granted some of Mr. Smith’s motions to compel the production of evidence, including some witness statements that the defense believes exonerate him.

Mr. Smith and Mr. Stallings have argued that JPMorgan knew the loans were flawed, and thus were not victims, casting doubt on whether any crime was committed.

Rich Lord:, 412-263-1542 or on Twitter @richelord.

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