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Former Milwaukee Buck to argue for conviction reversal

Tate George, former NBA basketball player and the CEO of purported real estate development firm The George Group, leaves federal court in Newark, N.J. George has been jailed since his conviction last fall on four mail fraud counts. His motion to be released on bail was denied by U.S. District Judge Mary Cooper on Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014. (AP Photo/The Record of Bergen County, Leslie Barbaro, File)

Tate George, former NBA basketball player and the CEO of purported real estate development firm The George Group, leaves federal court in Newark, N.J., in 2011. George has been jailed since his conviction last fall on four mail fraud counts. (AP File Photo/The Record of Bergen County, Leslie Barbaro)

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A former NBA player convicted in a real estate Ponzi scheme is due in court to argue for a new trial.

Tate George has accused the government of prosecutorial misconduct. He is scheduled to appear in court in Trenton on Friday morning.

George was convicted last fall on four mail fraud counts. He has been jailed since his conviction and was denied bail earlier this week.

George starred for the University of Connecticut and later played for the New Jersey Nets and the Milwaukee Bucks.

The U.S. attorney’s office contends George persuaded pro athletes and other victims to invest in a purported real estate opportunity. Prosecutors say instead of buying the real estate he’d touted he used the money to pay off earlier investors and cover personal expenses.

Wire fraud carries a maximum 20-year sentence upon conviction, but defendants rarely receive the maximum. Because George had no previous criminal history, his sentence under federal guidelines likely would depend largely on the total monetary loss to his victims, and that amount has been hotly disputed by the two sides.

In a motion filed last month, George called the government’s case “as porous as Swiss cheese” and claimed prosecutors conceded in a phone conference that the real estate projects at issue were legitimate. George said he dealt with investors in good faith and never operated a Ponzi scheme, which he said can be proved by testimony from his corporate attorney, who wasn’t called to testify by the attorney who defended George at trial.

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