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Prominent Miami attorney Ben Kuehne, who federal prosecutors charged with money laundering in February, got good news and bad news last week. In a superceding indictment filed late last week, prosecutors dropped one charge against Kuehne � obstruction of justice — but added another one —� wire-fraud. The wire fraud conspiracy carries a potential sentence of 20 years, while the obstruction of justice charge carries a potential 10-year sentence. Kuehne’s attorney, Jane Moscowitz of Miami, had no comment on the swapped charges, which were not posted on the electronic federal court docket Monday. Kuehne’s indictment stunned and outraged the legal community in Miami and throughout the country. A well-respected former member of the Florida Bar Board of Governors and former president of the Dade County Bar Association, Kuehne was charged in connection with his vetting of $5.2 million in legal fees for Miami attorney Roy Black in the case of Colombian drug trafficker Fabio Ochoa Vasquez. Black was not charged. The Justice Department alleges that Kuehne approved legal fees he knew were tainted. The funds turned out to be planted by undercover agents. Kuehne plead not guilty and his attorney strongly denies he had knowledge that the funds were tainted. In response to the case, the national criminal defense bar has pressed the Justice Department to promulgate rules outlining how far defense lawyers must go in vetting legal fees.

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