Chapman's federal trial delayed until next summer


Nathan A. Chapman Jr., the Baltimore investment banker accused of defrauding the state pension system and his own companies, agreed yesterday to a delay of his federal trial until next summer to allow more preparation time for his new attorney, high-profile Washington lawyer William R. "Billy" Martin.

During a brief hearing yesterday, U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles Jr. set a June 7 trial date. Earlier dates were scratched because of Martin's involvement in trials in other states.

"That's a problem when you hire a star, Mr. Chapman," Quarles joked from the bench. "It's hard to schedule around a star."

Martin is widely known for his representation of Monica Lewinsky's mother during the Clinton White House sex scandal and for serving as legal counsel to the parents of Chandra Levy, the government intern who had been missing for more than a year before her remains were found in Rock Creek Park in Washington.

Martin also worked closely with Maryland U.S. Attorney Thomas M. DiBiagio while DiBiagio was in private practice in 2000 and 2001. Both men worked for the Washington law firm Dyer, Ellis & Joseph P.C., which merged in January with the firm Blank Rome LLP.

When DiBiagio was selected for the U.S. attorney's job in 2001, Martin praised him as a fair and methodical litigator. The Chapman case marks the first time that Martin has represented a defendant charged under DiBiagio.

Chapman previously was represented by attorneys from the Washington firm Patton Boggs, including former Clinton White House adviser Lanny J. Davis. Martin said Davis will continue to be involved in the case but that attorneys with Blank Rome will take the lead.

"We'll take over the defense ... and we look forward to proving his innocence," Martin said.

Chapman was charged in June with devising a fraudulent stock scheme that cost the state's $25 billion pension system nearly $5 million. The indictment against Chapman said he also stole about $437,350 from his companies and spent some of that money on lavish gifts, vacations and financial support for women.

Chapman, 45, has pleaded not guilty and vowed that he will be cleared of wrongdoing.

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