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Prosecutors Plan Appeal in Case of Brandon Barber’s Attorney, K. Vaughn Knight

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Federal prosecutors have decided to appeal a federal judge’s decision to throw out a jury’s conviction of Fayetteville attorney K. Vaughn Knight on eight felony charges.

Knight was convicted in November of five counts of money laundering and one count each of conspiracy to commit bankruptcy fraud, bankruptcy fraud and making false statements — all related to his interaction with client Brandon Barber. Barber, formerly a high-flying real estate developer in northwest Arkansas, pleaded guilty last July to conspiracy to commit bankruptcy fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and money laundering.

But last month U.S. District Judge U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes III, in a rare move, acquitted Knight on the charge of making false statements and ordered a new trial on the other seven counts.

Conner Eldridge, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, and First Assistant U.S. Attorney Wendy L. Johnson on Tuesday filed a notice saying that the government would appeal all of Holmes’ actions, including his denying of a preliminary order of forfeiture.

Vaughn’s new trial on seven of the charges had been scheduled for Aug. 4, but Holmes canceled that when the notice of appeal was filed.

Barber and three other co-defendants who pleaded guilty to various charges are scheduled for sentencing next month: Barber on Aug. 13; James Van Doren on Aug. 18; Brandon Rains on Aug. 21; and Jeff Whorton on Aug. 20.

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