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San Diego

Federal Judge Earl Gilliam on Thursday set a Nov. 18 hearing to hear arguments on his ruling last week throwing out the indictments of 10 remaining defendants in the fraud case involving kickbacks and bribery in the award of a $24.5-million telephone system contract by the county of San Diego.

Lantz Lewis, a county deputy district attorney serving as federal prosecutor in the so-called Telink case, requested the hearing to attempt to convince Gilliam that the indictments handed down in 1984 by the federal grand jury remained valid despite a later U. S. Supreme Court opinion narrowing the use of the mail-fraud law and subsequent appeals court rulings.

Lewis also said that he is asking the U. S. solicitor general for permission to file an appeal of Gilliam’s ruling with the U. S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The sophisticated microwave telephone system, touted to save the county about $10 million a year in telephone service costs, was never built. When information about the alleged fraud surfaced, the county Board of Supervisors rescinded the contract it had awarded to Telink, an Orange County communications systems firm. Indictments of 13 people, including two county officials, and two corporations followed.

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