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The Miami federal judge overseeing the conspiracy and fraud trial of former Greenberg Traurig lobbyist Jack Abramoff clashed with his defense attorney last week over the trial date, eventually compromising halfway and settling on Dec. 12. U.S. District Judge Paul Huck had wanted to start the trial of Abramoff and his associate, Adam Kidan, in October. Both Miami lawyer Neal Sonnett, who represents Abramoff, and Hollywood, Fla., attorney Martin Jaffe, who represents Kidan, said they may file motions to have the two men tried separately. But federal prosecutors are sure to oppose severing the cases, and Jaffe acknowledged later that there is little chance that Huck would approve the motion. “The advantage is the one who went second would get a preview of what the government has,” Jaffe said. “But it would surprise me if it wasn’t together. The government is vehemently opposed to severance.” The case centers on charges that the two men used a counterfeit document to convince lenders they had transferred $23 million of their own money to buy the SunCruz casino boat fleet in 2001 from restaurant, entertainment and hotel tycoon Gus Boulis, who later was murdered. The document allegedly resulted in the release of $60 million in loans to be applied toward the purchase.

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