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It looks like it’s back to prison for a Washington lawyer convicted of defrauding D.C. Superior Court out of nearly $75,000. On Jan. 27, a federal judge sentenced criminal defense lawyer Shola Ayeni to 36 months in prison on conspiracy and fraud charges for allegedly arranging for friends and family to receive numerous $40 witness vouchers from the court, money they then would turn over to him. Ayeni, 46, was first tried in 2002, but that trial ended with a hung jury. Later that year, the public defender was retried, convicted, and sentenced to 37 months in prison. After Ayeni served more than a year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit overturned the verdict, faulting U.S. District Judge Richard Roberts for allowing lawyers to answer questions from the jury during deliberations. Ayeni, of Stafford, Va., was released pending a third trial, which ended with his conviction in November 2005. Ayeni’s attorney, Steven McCool, asked the judge to sentence his client simply to time served, noting merely that “The stigma of a felony conviction and disbarment from the practice of law promotes respect for the law, and it will dissuade others from committing similar crimes.”He went on to say, “There is no danger that Mr. Ayeni will offend again,” but to no avail. Ayeni, however, will get credit for the time he’s already spent in the pen. Last week, Ayeni filed a notice of appeal.
Sarah Kelley can be contacted at [email protected].

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