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Former Rite Aid exec's plea to have conviction overturned denied

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A federal judge Monday ruled he would not vacate the conviction of a former executive at Rite Aid Corp. for his role in an accounting scam at the company.

U.S. Middle District Chief Judge Christopher C. Conner wrote in his decision that Franklin C. Brown, a former Rite Aid Corp. board of directors member jailed for helping to inflate company earnings falsely, had not provided adequate proof that his case was mismanaged by the government or his own counsel.

The filing Monday represented the latest effort Brown has made to clear his name. In 2003, a federal judge sentenced Brown to 10 years in prison for his role in the accounting scandal at East Pennsboro Township-based Rite Aid Corp. that nearly folded what at the time was the third-largest drugstore chain in the nation, the U.S, Attorney’s Office said at the time. Rite Aid has since been passed in sales volume by Wal-Mart, according to Chain Drug Review.

Brown was the chief legal counsel and vice chairman of the board of directors, and he was convicted on charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice in 2003. He filed “several” post-trial motions for a new trial, according to court documents.

In 2011, a federal appeals court resentenced Brown to time served, ending his prison time, according to court documents. In November 2011, he filed the motion to have the entire conviction vacated.

In the filing, Brown claimed the conviction should have been vacated on three arguments: That he had ineffective assistance of counsel, that the government interfered with his right to counsel by persuading Rite Aid to stop paying his lawyer fees, and that one of the surveillance tapes used as evidence was “largely inaudible,” according to court documents.

But in his decision, Conner wrote that the mountain of evidence and witness testimony was too much to overcome, that he should have raised the issue of government interference at an appeal hearing and the argument around the surveillance tape was not valid.

Franklin Brown ruling

Michael Sadowski

Michael Sadowski

Mike Sadowski covers Lebanon County, banking and finance, law and the legal community, and technology. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at michaels@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @MikeCPBJ. Circle Michael Sadowski on .

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