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Kentucky attorney Melbourne Mills Jr. is off the hook for federal criminal charges that he defrauded clients and stole millions of dollars in settlement funds directed to clients who sued over injuries from the diet drug fen-phen.

Mills, 77, was acquitted by a jury on July 1 on one count of conspiracy to commit fraud. Two other Lexington, Ky., attorneys were also charged; the government said they took $65 million more than their attorney fee share of funds received in a 1998 civil lawsuit settlement for 440 clients. Mills could have been sentenced to more than 20 years in prison if he had been convicted.

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