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The Department of Justice is considering dropping one of six counts against Miami attorney Ben Kuehne and has appointed a new lead prosecutor on the case. In a motion filed Monday, prosecutors revealed they are considering dropping one count — obstruction of justice — against Kuehne and need a continuance in order to make that decision. Additionally, a new lead prosecutor was assigned to the case, slowing things down, the motion stated. The new prosecutor is Robert Feitel, a trial attorney in the DOJ’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drugs Division. It’s unclear why he has taken over the case at this stage. “There have been discussions at the Department of Justice concerning whether there should be a voluntary dismissal,” of the count, stated the motion. “Unfortunately, the Department has not been able to reach a conclusion as to this matter and the undersigned has been instructed to seek a brief continuance — in the nature of three weeks — so that the matter can be subject to further discussion.” In a case that has rocked criminal defense lawyers around the country, Kuehne, a respected attorney who served on the Florida Bar Board of Governors and as president of the Dade County Bar Association, was indicted in Miami federal court two months ago. He was charged with four counts of money laundering, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and obstruction of justice. So far, defense attorneys have moved for one count — the obstruction of justice count — to be dismissed. Kuehne was indicted for his role in vetting legal fees for prominent Miami attorney Roy Black. Black was paid millions of dollars to defend Cali Cartel kingpin Fabio Ochoa. Kuehne’s attorney, Jane Moscowitz of Miami, had no comment on the motion. A trial is tentatively scheduled to begin Jan. 20, 2009 and is expected to take two months.

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