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Federal judge throws out many charges against top Ukrainian

[JURIST] US District Court Judge Martin Jenkins [profile] ruled Friday that there was not enough evidence to sustain many of the counts against former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko [Wikipedia profile]. In a complex trial that ended nearly one year ago, Lazarenko was convicted on 29 counts of extortion and laundering money through California banks. Fifteen of the 29 counts were thrown out by Jenkins but prosecution and defense attorneys had divergent assessments of the ruling. Defense attorney Daniel Horowitz called it a "tremendous victory" while a prosecution spokesman stressed that the most serious charges of money laundering were affirmed. Jenkins set a June 23 court date for Lazarenko's sentencing. Reuters has more.

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