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Judge to Reconsider Decision to Disqualify Stone's Lawyer

June 11, 1996

SANTA ANA — A federal judge on Monday agreed to reconsider his ruling that disqualified Allan H. Stokke from representing Dr. Sergio C. Stone, who is scheduled to go on trial next week on charges stemming from the UC Irvine fertility clinic scandal.

U.S. District Judge Gary L. Taylor removed Stokke from the case last week, citing a potential conflict of interest because Stokke's law firm had also represented Dr. Jose P. Balmaceda when the scandal erupted.

Stone, Balmaceda and Dr. Ricardo H. Asch have been accused of stealing human eggs and embryos from several women and implanting them in others. Some of the women who allegedly received the stolen eggs gave birth. So far, Stone is the only one charged by a federal grand jury investigating the scandal.

Taylor told attorney Michael Abzug, who made a special appearance for Stone, that he had "an uphill battle" in attempting to persuade the judge to change his ruling. Taylor gave Abzug and Stokke until 5 p.m. today to file written arguments. After giving federal prosecutors time to reply, Taylor said he will rule on the motion at 3 p.m. Friday.

Stone's trial is scheduled to begin next Tuesday, but Assistant U.S. Atty. Thomas Bienert said Monday that prosecutors expect to file additional charges against him later this week.

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