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Vickram Bedi $20M theft trial delayed by judge to probe possible lawyer conflict

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A county judge has delayed proceedings against Vickram Bedi, accused of conning millions from a Katonah man, for at least another month as she waits to decide whether Bedi’s lawyer must be removed from the case because of a conflict of interest.

The lawyer, Anthony Giordano, called his possible removal a “deliberate delaying tactic,” but state Supreme Court Justice Barbara Zambelli said Tuesday that conflict-of-interest allegations raised by prosecutors have enough merit to warrant an investigation by a third-party attorney.

“You’re smirking at that?” Zambelli asked Giordano in court. “Obviously, I don’t see it as a frivolous motion.”

Bedi, a Chappaqua resident, has been charged with grand larceny. Prosecutors said he swindled $20 million from Roger Davidson of Katonah, a musician and an heir to the founders of an oil-field services company. The two met when Davidson walked in to Bedi’s Mount Kisco computer shop in 2004.

Bedi later sold him virus protection and personal protection services for millions of dollars over a six-year period, against a threat — involving a remote Honduran village and a plot against the United States by priests linked to Opus Dei — that did not exist, prosecutors said.

The issue with Bedi’s lawyer began in December, when Bedi and Giordano sued Bedi’s former lawyer, David Browde, for malpractice, prompting Browde to countersue on allegations of fraud, collusion, breach of contract and abuse of process.

Prosecutors said in court papers that the legal entanglement made Giordano unable to continue in Bedi’s criminal case, and Zambelli agreed Tuesday to push the next court hearing to May 22 while the claim is investigated.

But Giordano said outside the courtroom that the move was only intended to make Bedi sweat the charges further, in hopes that he may later plead guilty.

The delay also means that prosecutors do not have to turn over evidence to Giordano while he remains up for possible removal, irritating the lawyer.

“This case is bogus and they know it,” Giordano said. “That’s what kills me.”

Bedi has been in prison on $5 million bond since his arrest in November 2010. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

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