In a novel habeas ruling, a federal judge on Monday ordered a new trial on nearly all of the fraud and reporting violation charges against a former cooperative building manager and sponsor stemming from his failure in the late 1980s to make nearly $2 million in payments on sponsor-owned units.

Southern District Judge Shira Scheindlin found the 1995 state conviction of Brett K. Lurie constitutionally deficient, in part, because he was denied the chance to call his attorney as a defense witness to establish he lacked the requisite intent to defraud. In addition, Judge Scheindlin granted relief in accordance with what is known as a “rule of lenity” because at the time Mr. Lurie was convicted, there was ambiguity in some of the laws under which he was charged.