Appeals court skeptical of fairness of trader's conviction

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An appeals court panel on Wednesday expressed doubts about the fairness of a prosecution that led to a prison sentence for a man convicted of defrauding a government bailout program.

A three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had plenty of questions for a prosecutor as it conducted oral arguments in an appeal by Jesse Litvak, a bond trader on the Stamford, Connecticut, trading floor at Jefferies & Co. Inc.

Litvak, who's from New York, was sentenced last year to two years in prison after a jury convicted him of securities fraud, defrauding the Troubled Asset Relief Program and making false statements to the federal government. He has not had to serve his sentence pending appeal.

The conviction made Litvak, 40, the first person convicted of a crime related to the program, which used bailout funds in the financial meltdown to boost the economy.

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