More twists in the case involving the three Kentucky lawyers who are awaiting trial on charges they took an extra $65 million in fees from their Fen-Phen clients. 

    In June, I wrote about the wire fraud indictments issued against William J. Gallion, Shirley A. Cunningham, Jr., and Melbourne Mills, Jr. by a federal grand jury in Covington.  The three are awaiting trial, which had been set to begin on October 15, and had been free on their own recognizance. Their lawyers requested a continuance to have additional time to review documents, and the prosecution joined in the request.

    According to The (Louisville) Courier-Journal, United States District Judge William O. Bertelsman expressed concern about the incentive for the defendants to transfer the funds to an off-shore account or themselves to flee if they remained free on bail, and advised the defendants and their counsel that if he granted their motion, he would revoke their bail. (The defendants had already surrendered their passports.)  Following a hearing on the motion, Judge Bertelsman granted the continuance and ordered the defendants taken into custody and incarcerated in the Boone County Jail.  Trial is now set for January 7, 2008.

    But as of Tuesday afternoon, there’s another development.  The Courier Journal reports that based on new information that was not available last week, and which he did not describe, Judge Bertelsman has set a hearing for next Tuesday. He has also ordered Gallion, Cunningham, and Mills to submit complete financial statements prior to the hearing.  The defendants’ lawyers had already filed notices of appeal for the order revoking their clients’ bail, and did not request next Tuesday’s hearing. 

    The Courier-Journal  has another article that features commentary from well-known legal ethics experts about the ruling.  Judge Bertelsman’s comments at last Friday’s hearing, as also described in the article, demonstrate a concern for the public’s perception of the legal profession as a whole.  But, as the ethics experts pointed out, his concern should be for the individual defendants.