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Spam Charges Not Gov't Retaliation, Prosecutor Says

Attorneys for a man accused of fraud say he was charged at the behest of presidential adviser Karl Rove in retaliation for a flood of spam e-mails sent to a campaign Web site. A federal prosecutor says the claim is "absurd."

Assistant U.S. Attorney David M. Siegal urged U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain on Monday to reject arguments that Rove caused the criminal investigation that led to charges against Robert McAllister.

Siegal said lawyers for McAllister made the "patently absurd argument that the U.S. attorney's office in the Southern District is a shield for Karl Rove and has arrested and indicted their client in some sort of vindictive retaliation."

McAllister's lawyer Gerald L. Shargel said Monday he plans to try to call Rove as a witness, if the court allows it.

McAllister, of Jupiter, Fla., is accused of conspiracy to commit wire fraud while he was chief executive officer and president of Millennium National Events Inc., an events promotion company. He was arrested in August 2005.

The government says McAllister and Millennium tried to inflate the price of the company's stock by "spreading false and misleading information" about the company via unsolicited e-mails, or spam, to potential investors. McAllister could face up to five years in prison if convicted.

Shargel said McAllister's efforts to grow his company were "thwarted by the wrongful conduct of stock promoters," one of whom sent e-mails to a presidential Web site, georgewbush.com. That Web address currently connects automatically to the Republican National Committee, http://www.gop.com .

"Mr. Rove used his power and influence at the White House to seek quick punishment of Millennium, and therefore also Robert McAllister, for daring to spam the president's personal Web site," Shargel said.

The Daily News reported Sunday that e-mails, phone records and transcripts of phone conversations indicate Rove contacted McAllister and at least three stock promoters. The newspaper reported that White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Rove "vaguely remembered" the e-mail onslaught but could not recall whether he or any other White House worker contacted the Department of Justice.

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