Fabian seeks to have 2008 sentence overturned

December 28, 2009|By Tricia Bishop | tricia.bishop@baltsun.com

A federal judge has directed the government to explain why Alan B. Fabian's nine-year prison sentence and $40 million restitution order shouldn't be overturned.

Fabian, a former charity organizer and Republican fundraiser who last year pleaded guilty to mail fraud and faking a tax return, filed a slew of papers over the past two months, requesting that the judge in his lengthy case be disqualified, that his 2008 sentence and conviction be vacated, and that he be released from prison.

He claims at least 13 reasons why his sentence is illegal, including his "actual innocence," involuntary agreement to the plea deal, ineffective assistance of counsel and various due process violations.

So far, he's received no reply from the Maryland U.S. Attorney's Office, which has until Jan. 23 to file a "show cause" response addressing the points in Fabian's motion to vacate his sentence, according to a November order by Baltimore U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake.

Blake at the same time denied Fabian's request to disqualify her, writing in the order that "Fabian's claims do not presently support an inference of bias nor otherwise demonstrate a need for recusal." She added that the government "may also address the motion to disqualify" in its filing, due 60 days from Nov. 24.

Fabian, who filed for bankruptcy on New Year's Eve, made headlines earlier this year after it was revealed that he lodged secret allegations of campaign finance fraud against Republican Party chief Michael Steele, hoping it would help him earn a sweeter plea deal. Fabian was a finance committee chairman for Steele's unsuccessful U.S. Senate run in 2006. The accusations led the FBI to launch an investigation into Steele, though no charges have been filed. The agency declined to comment on the status of the investigation, referring questions to the Maryland U.S. Attorney's Office, which also declined to comment.

Fabian's case, filed in 2007, shocked his friends and colleagues, who knew the 45-year-old Cockeysville man as a wealthy entrepreneur, well-connected political fundraiser and religious philanthropist who was always ready to help those in need. But prosecutors described him as a con artist who defrauded companies, creditors and a fellow church member, who attended Bible study in his home, of an estimated $40 million.

In his recent filings, Fabian says he was unfairly maligned.

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